ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Johan Santana was so dominant, even the guy who managed the Devil Rays' only two hits off him had to feel lucky.
"The ball happened to find my bat and find a hole," Delmon Young said.
Santana became the first 17-game winner in the major leagues last night, allowing two hits over eight scoreless innings as Minnesota beat Tampa Bay, 8-0 -- the Twins' 14th win in a row over Tampa Bay.
Minnesota took a 1 1/2-game lead in the AL wild-card race over the Chicago White Sox, who lost, 1-0, at Fenway Park. The Red Sox remained six games behind.
The Twins also crept within four games of AL Central-leading Detroit after the Tigers lost to Seattle, 4-3.
"Games start with your pitching and [Santana] was really getting after it pretty good tonight," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``He had great stuff, and I think you saw that according to some of the swings."
Santana (17-5) struck out 12 and walked one. The lefthander, 8-0 since the All-Star break, retired his first 10 hitters before a double with one out in the fourth by Young. Santana then got eight straight outs before Young singled to lead off the seventh.
The only other batter to reach was B.J. Upton, who drew a two-out walk in the eighth.
``He had everything working tonight," Young said. ``You can tell by the swings we were taking. He's one of the best pitchers in the game because he's attacking the strike zone. He's got two great off-speed pitches."
Santana has recorded 10 or more strikeouts in eight games this season and 31 times in his career. The Twins decided to pull Santana after eight innings because of some minor left hip stiffness.
``In all those long innings [when the Twins scored], it's not easy to stay loose," Santana said. ``I get everything going, I feel fine, but between innings it was there. I wanted to [finish the game], but at the same time we still have some games to go and I have to pitch on Sunday."
The Devil Rays' last win against Minnesota came June 3, 2004, when they beat Santana.
``He was very impressive today," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ``I've seen him good, but that's almost as good as I've seen him."
``We're trying to take care of our own business," Gardenhire said. ``You scoreboard-watch after the fact, but we've just got to take care of our own business."
Jason Tyner had an RBI double and Jason Bartlett hit a sacrifice fly off Jae Seo (1-6) during a three-run fourth that put the Twins ahead, 3-0.
Seo, reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings. He had been out since straining his left groin Aug. 20.
Michael Cuddyer hit an RBI double and Justin Morneau had a run-scoring triple in a three-run seventh to make it 6-0.
Twins catcher Joe Mauer went 1 for 4, including a two-run double in the eighth, and had his average drop a point to .345. He has three hits in his last 26 at-bats.