Santana hopes for chance vs. Yanks in October

Twins righty lined up for possible AL Wild Card Game after taking loss in Bronx

Santana hopes for chance vs. Yanks in October

NEW YORK -- Ervin Santana was mostly solid against the Yankees on Monday night, allowing two runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings in a 2-1 loss, but was blunt when asked if he'd take that performance in a potential American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium.

"I want to pitch better than this one," Santana said. "If I get the chance to come here again, we just have to win, no matter how."

As it stands now, Santana is lined up to start a potential AL Wild Card Game for the Twins, who saw their lead over the Angels drop to 1 1/2 games with 12 games remaining. They very well could be headed back to New York for that game, scheduled for Oct. 3, with the Yankees five games up on the Twins and trailing the Red Sox by three games in the AL East. Luis Severino is likely to start for the Yanks if they play in the Wild Card Game.

Santana has undoubtedly been Minnesota's ace this season, posting a 3.34 ERA in 199 1/3 innings. He's scheduled to make two more starts, in Detroit and Cleveland, as the Twins look to clinch their first postseason berth since 2010. But the 13-year veteran said he's not treating those starts any different, including the Wild Card Game, which would be his first postseason action since the 2009 AL Championship Series, when he posted a 1.59 ERA against the Yankees in 5 2/3 innings in relief with the Angels.

"It's just another game," Santana said. "I wouldn't change anything. I'd just try to pitch like I have all year."

Santana added he's also not worried about his career numbers in New York, despite falling to 0-5 with a 6.43 ERA in six starts at the new Yankee Stadium since it opened in 2009. He was 2-1 with a 5.19 ERA in three starts at the old Yankee Stadium. He also threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief in New York during the 2009 ALCS.

"I don't keep track of what I've done or here or what I've done there," Santana said. "I just take it one pitch and one game at a time."

Santana was seemingly hurt by two bad pitches on Monday -- a poorly located fastball that went for a solo shot from Aaron Judge in the first and a wild-pitch slider in the sixth after giving up back-to-back one out singles. The Twins opted to intentionally walk Jacoby Ellsbury after the wild pitch, but Todd Frazier lifted a fly ball to left-center to allow Chase Headley to tag up and score what proved to be the winning run.

Twins manager Paul Molitor said he'd take that kind of outing from Santana in a big game, noting it was more on the offense for uncharacteristically struggling against lefty Jaime Garcia, who hadn't won since being traded by the Twins to New York before the Trade Deadline.

"There was a little congestion at times, but he made good pitches with two outs," Molitor said. "They've been scoring a lot of runs and they grind out tough at-bats and make you work. So you have to get out of jams sometimes and I thought he did a nice job of doing that."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.