NEW YORK - Johan Santana won the American League Cy Young Award on Thursday for the second time in three years, and the Minnesota Twins' ace was a unanimous choice once again.
Santana received all 28 first-place votes for a perfect total of 140 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Chien-Ming Wang of the New York Yankees finished a distant second with 15 second-place votes and 51 points. Toronto's Roy Halladay was third with 48 points.
"This was not such a big surprise as in 2004," Santana said at a news conference at home in Venezuela.
The left-hander separated himself from all others during a dominant season, going 19-6 with a 2.77 ERA and 245 strikeouts to lead Minnesota to the AL Central title.
With a baffling changeup and excellent control, he tied Wang for most wins in the majors and led the league in ERA, strikeouts and innings pitched (233w).
Forget the Triple Crown - it was the pitching version of a Quadruple Crown.
Santana also was a unanimous winner in 2004, when he was 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts. He is the fifth pitcher to win the Cy Young Award unanimously at least twice, joining Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, who did it three times.
The award was established 50 years ago, and there was only one selection from both leagues from 1956-66.
Thanks to his huge season on the mound, Santana could be a contender for another trophy, too. But he has much stiffer competition for AL MVP, which will be announced next Tuesday.
No pitcher has won an MVP award since Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley in 1992. The last starter to win was Clemens for Boston in '86. For winning the Cy Young Award, the 27-year-old Santana receives a $100,000 bonus.
"This is a matter of pride and happiness for me, my country, my family and the Minnesota Twins," he said. "The only downside is that I couldn't take our team to the World Series."
The only other Twins pitchers to win were Frank Viola in 1988 and Jim Perry in 1970.
First-, second- and third-place votes and total points on a 5-3-1 basis:
|Johan Santana, Min||28||-||-||140|
|Chien-Ming Wang, NY||-||15||6||51|
|Roy Halladay, Tor||-||12||12||48|
|Francisco Rodriguez, LA||-||1||2||5|