MINNEAPOLIS -- Sure, the Minnesota Twins added a veteran designated hitter on Saturday. If they're lucky, he'll hit as well as the DH they're already using.
While rumors about Kendrys Morales made their way around Target Field, Danny Santana lined four hits and drove in five runs, providing more than enough offense for Kyle Gibson and the Twins in an 8-0 shutout of Houston.
"He's swinging it," manager Ron Gardenhire said of the 23-year-old Dominican rookie. "He's doing fine. He doesn't know these pitchers, so he's making some adjustments. He sees a breaking ball the first time, he's ready for it the next time. The kid's fun to watch."
The Astros probably don't think so. Santana lined his first career home run into the left field seats on Friday, then just got hotter a day later. When the Twins loaded the bases in the second inning on a hit batter, a walk and two Astros errors, Santana lined a single to right to bring home a pair of runs. Two more walks ahead of him in the fourth inning turned into runs when Santana bashed a pitch to the left-center fence for a double. And another Santana single in the seventh drove home Kurt Suzuki, giving the shortstop-turned-outfielder-turned-DH a career day.
Gibson's day was much more routine -- he's always good at Target Field. The second-year right-hander limited Houston to three singles over seven innings and never allowed a runner to reach third base. That extended his streak to 15 consecutive innings without allowing a run in Target Field, where he now owns a 4-1 record and 1.54 ERA.
Gibson's biggest challenge, in fact, was staying warm during the Twins' big innings. "It's probably the first time, maybe ever, I've had two long innings of 30 or 40 minutes," Gibson said. "Coming back up (behind the dugout), trying to get loose and throwing some balls in the (batting) cage is how I handled it."
Must have worked. Gibson's sinker was so effective, his final nine outs all came on ground balls.
TWINS ACT LOCALLY IN THIRD DAY OF DRAFT: The Twins selected several local players Saturday on the third and final day of the baseball draft. One interesting player is 21st-round pick Onas Farfan.
Farfan is a lefthander from New Hope who went to Robbinsdale Cooper High School and pitched last season at Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minn., going 1-5 with a 4.58 ERA. He's also the first player ever drafted out of the Twins' RBI (Revitalizing Baseball in the Inner Cities) program.
Farfan was born in the U.S. but spent his early childhood in Venezuela. According to Frank White, coordinator for the Twins' RBI program, Farfan was part of the program in 2011-12, joining soon after moving back to the area.
"He was back five days and they brought him to our workout," White said. "He could only speak Spanish."
One of Farfan's first pitches blew past the catcher.
"I wrote down next to his name, 'Made the team,' " White said.
Farfan worked out for the Twins on Monday at Target Field, hitting 89-92 with his fastball and flashing a solid slider. On Friday, he pitched for Alexandria in a 10-4 victory over Willmar in Northwoods League action. Alexandria is managed by former Twin Al Newman.
"We think we might have found a sleeper," said Deron Johnson, the Twins' scouting director.
Other local players drafted by the Twins on Saturday were infielder Pat Kelly, a 12th-round pick from Red Wing now at Nebraska: shortstop Blake Schmidt, a 26th-round pick from Eden Prairie now at Maryland; infielder Trey Vavra, a 33rd-rounder from Florida Southern and son of Twins third base coach Joe Vavra; righthander Mike Baumann, 34th round pick from Mahtomedi High School; and catcher Brad Mathiowetz, a 35th-round pick from Rochester Mayo.
The Twins, in the 40th and final round, selected infielder Dalton Guthrie out of Venice High in Sarasota, Fla. He is the son of former Twins pitcher Mark Guthrie.
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