CLEVELAND After Johan Santana took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, the Minnesota Twins had to rally for a victory.
Brian Buscher hit a go-ahead groundout in the ninth inning, after Torii Hunter s leadoff double, and the Twins beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 last night.
Hunter doubled off Joe Borowski (2-4) to start the inning and took third on Jason Kubel s groundout. Borowski hit Rondell White in the left side with a 3-2 pitch, and White was replaced by pinch runner Lew Ford, who broke for second on a 1-0 pitch to Buscher that was hit to second baseman Mike Rouse.
Rouse s high throw home went off catcher Victor Martinez s glove, but may have been too late anyway. Hunter slid in safely with the eventual winning run, the Twins first victory in five games on their six-game road trip.
Pat Neshek (6-1) pitched a perfect eighth for the win and Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his 21st save in 23 tries as the Twins snapped a five-game losing streak.
Santana struck out 12 over seven innings and had a no-hitter with two outs in the sixth. He gave up a career-high four homers his last time out, a 6-4 loss at Toronto on Monday, and is 1-2 in four starts since the All-Star break after going 40-4 following the breaks in 2003-06.
Martinez opened the Indians seventh with a single for Cleveland s second hit. Then Travis Hafner tied the score at 2 with a long homer to right that brought the sellout crowd of 41,203 to its feet.
Santana struck out nine in a span of 11 batters from the second through fifth inning. The left-hander allowed two runs and four hits, walking one.
Franklin Gutierrez tried to end the no-hit bid by bunting to open the sixth. Santana made a diving stop on the ball and threw to first baseman Justin Morneau, who dropped it for an error.
Two outs later, Grady Sizemore doubled into the right-field corner for Cleveland s first hit, sending Gutierrez to third. But Santana got Blake on a fly out to right to end the threat and preserve a 2-0 lead.
Jason Tyner hit his first career homer in 1,220 at-bats to put the Twins ahead 1-0 in a two-run third against Indians starter Jake Westbrook.
During the Twins rally, Martinez was stunned when hit in the face mask and left shoulder by the barrel of a broken bat. With Luis Castillo on first base after a walk, Jason Bartlett s bat shattered as he hit an infield single. Plate umpire Laz Diaz tried to keep the All-Star catcher from tumbling over and trainer Lonnie Soloff quickly ran out to attend to Cleveland s leading hitter, who remained in the game.
One out later, Justin Morneau singled home Castillo.