Santana finishes third in Cy Young race

Santana finishes third in Cy Young race

MINNEAPOLIS -- In the end, baseball writers apparently voted with the mantra of an NFL owner.

It was Raiders boss Al Davis who coined the phrase "just win, baby." And the Angels' Bartolo Colon racked up more victories (21) than Twins pitcher Johan Santana (16) did this season.

On Tuesday, Colon was named the winner of the American League Cy Young Award with 17 first-place votes, 11 second-place votes and 118 points in results from the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera finished second and received eight first-place votes and 68 points. Missing his chance to be a back-to-back winner of the award, Santana came in third while receiving three first-place votes, eight second-place votes and 12 third-place votes for 51 points.

"That decision doesn't diminish what he meant to us this year," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Tuesday night from the GM meetings in Indian Wells, Calif. "Johan was good."

Santana finished 2005 with a 16-7 record and a 2.87 ERA while leading the Major Leagues with 238 strikeouts in 231 2/3 innings. Opponents' batting average against him was .210, which was also best in the AL. He was tied for fifth in the AL in wins, finished second in ERA and tied for fourth in complete games with three.

After a slow start to the season, Santana went 9-2 with a 1.59 ERA after the All-Star break and was one of the game's most dominating pitchers in the second half.

With the exception of victories, all of Santana's other key statistical numbers dwarfed those of Colon. The Angels' right-hander finished 21-8 with a 3.48 ERA and was the only AL pitcher to reach the 20-win plateau. But he trailed with 157 strikeouts and 222 2/3 innings. Opponents batted .254 against him. He was 10-3 with a 3.55 ERA in the second half, but struggled down the stretch.

As Colon helped lead the Angels to the AL West division title, which likely boosted his candidacy, Santana's chances probably suffered from the Twins not making the playoffs and his lineup's lack of run support. In his seven losses and 10 no-decisions this past season, the 26-year-old allowed three runs or less 10 times. He lost or received a no-decision in three 2-1 games.

"I wished he got first because he pitched awfully well under trying circumstances," Ryan said. "We didn't have the same type of success, execution or defense that contributes to a pitcher's overall success."

Rivera enjoyed another dominating season for New York, going 7-4 with a 1.38 ERA and 43 saves.

Last year, Santana was unanimously elected the AL Cy Young Award winner after going 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts. He was also 13-0 with a 1.21 ERA after the All-Star break.

Although many of this year's numbers compared favorably, they apparently weren't close enough -- or good enough.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.