NEW YORK (AP) – Jason Kubel and the Minnesota Twins roughed up former teammate Johan Santana early, and Carl Pavano produced another fine pitching performance Saturday in a 6-0 victory over the New York Mets.
Pavano (9-6) gave up three hits in his second consecutive complete game, both of which have come against an NL East ace. The well-traveled right-hander tossed a four-hitter Sunday to beat Roy Halladay and the NL champion Phillies 4-1.
Pavano had two hits and a sacrifice at the plate for Minnesota, which ended a four-game skid. The Twins began the day a half-game up on Detroit in the AL Central.
It was Pavano’s sixth career shutout and first since June 5, 2009, against the Chicago White Sox.
Santana was given a rude welcome in his first start against the team he spent his first eight seasons with. After Britain’s Prince Harry threw out the ceremonial first pitch with some gusto, Santana got a quick out. But Minnesota then scored four runs on several sharply hit balls.
Joe Mauer, Kubel and Delmon Young all drove in runs to help hand the Mets just their third loss in 16 games at Citi Field.
Denard Span had an RBI double off Santana (5-5) in the fourth inning and Kubel homered off Fernando Nieve in the ninth for the Twins, who improved to 3-5 on their road trip.
Not only did the Twins end their losing streak, they snapped an uncharacteristic stretch in which they made errors in each of the four losses with several smart plays behind Pavano.
They turned two double plays – one a baserunning blunder by Jeff Francouer in the third after he bunted for the Mets’ first hit. He was caught way off first on a popup to shortstop Nick Punto.
Punto started the other double play when he caught Alex Cora’s liner at his feet and then threw to first to double off Ike Davis, who walked.
Pavano took care of the rest in his second straight dominant outing. Having flopped mightily in New York with the Yankees from 2005-08, he looked more like the ace the Bronx Bombers thought they were giving a $39.95 million contract to. His ninth win matched his total during four injury-plagued years in New York.
Pavano didn’t allow a baserunner to reach third and only six outs were made in the outfield. He struck out three, walked one and hit a batter with a pitch in his third complete game this season.
For Santana, the poor first inning was the continuation of a turbulent week.
Several days after he lost to the Yankees on Sunday, reports surfaced that a woman accused Santana of raping her in Florida last year. The pitcher told Florida police he had consensual sex with the woman.
The state attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case, citing lack of evidence and inconsistent statements.
Santana, who is married with three children, said Wednesday that “the case is closed” and said he would not comment any further.
Santana pitched for the Twins from 2000-07, winning two Cy Young Awards and four division titles. But the Twins traded him to the Mets as he neared free agency and he signed a $137.5 million, six-year contract with New York.
Orlando Hudson started the first-inning rally with a one-out double and Mauer followed with an RBI single. Michael Cuddyer walked an out later and Kubel drove in Mauer with a ground-rule double to left. Young followed with another hard-hit double for two more runs and a 4-0 lead.
Santana allowed at least four runs for the fourth straight start.