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07/02/06 8:00 PM ET
Twins dominate monthly AL honors
Mauer, Santana and Liriano sweep awards
By Jason Brummond / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota's hot June produced more than a winning streak. The Twins became the first team in baseball history to collect all three monthly awards as Joe Mauer, Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano picked up American League honors on Sunday. The Twins went 19-7 in June, including winning 17 of 18 games to finish the month. Mauer was named Player of Month, Santana earned Pitcher of the Month and Liriano was selected as Rookie of the Month for June. The trio's closest competition for an award was teammate Justin Morneau, the runner-up in the player voting. "We got just about everything you could throw out there, so I guess that means I've got to manage now or I'll get fired, because we have all the players of the month," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's been fun to watch. It's been a great month. We had a heck of a run here and now have to keep going [and] go on the road and do the same thing." Mauer, who leads the Major Leagues with a .392 batting average, went 42-for-93 and hit .452 in 24 games last month. He added a .624 slugging percentage with a .528 on-base percentage. Mauer reached base four times or more in seven total games, including five consecutive from June 6-10. He notched 11 multi-hit games and reached base safely in 23-of-24 games. Mauer, who tallied 14 RBIs and scored 18 runs, was more excited to find out about his All-Star selection on Sunday. "I'm just real excited about this right now," he said. "I can't wait." Morneau, one of three other players to receive consideration for Player of the Month, hit .364 with 10 home runs 29 RBIs in June. The 2004 American League Cy Young Award winner, Santana was 5-0 in June with a 1.05 ERA. He allowed only 24 hits in 43 innings, while striking out 44 batters and walking just five. Santana didn't allow more than five hits or one earned run in a single game. "To me, everybody deserves [an award]," Santana said. "I know they will give that award to me, Mauer and Liriano, but the whole team is playing great baseball. When you do that, a lot of things like this can happen." Liriano was runner-up to Santana. They were the only two starters who were looked at for the award. "It just shows how the good the club is right about now," Torii Hunter said. Liriano, who pitched eight scoreless innings and struck out a career-high 12 batters against Milwaukee on Sunday, went 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA last month. He struck out 35 hitters, walked seven and allowed 22 hits in 35 innings of work. On the season, Liriano is 9-1 with a 1.99 ERA. His month was highlighted by a showdown with Roger Clemens on national television, when the rookie out-dueled the Rocket by throwing eight innings and allowing just four hits and two runs. Liriano, 22, also tossed a one-hitter in seven innings against Baltimore on June 11 and struck out a then-best 11 hitters against Pittsburgh on June 16. He said he's not in any competition with Santana, but uses the seven-year veteran's experience to continue to get better. "I just want to keep doing what I'm doing," Liriano said. "He's doing a great job, too, and helping me a lot. I just want to learn from him -- how to get people out -- and do the same thing he does."
Jason Brummond is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.