That streak, which is the longest for the Twins in two seasons, has been highlighted by lights-out pitching, including a 1.25 ERA over 21 2/3 innings by a bullpen that now leads the American League with a 3.33 ERA.
"Things are coming around pretty good," said right-hander Juan Rincon, the setup man with the 1.47 ERA who threw another 1-2-3 eighth inning Sunday. "We don't score that many runs, but we find a way to hold a lead. That's how this team was built."
The bullpen has held every lead it has been handed during the winning streak, and a three-game weekend sweep in Pittsburgh underscored the job the relief corps has done of late.
The Pirates didn't tap the Twins' relievers until Jason Bay's solo home run off rookie Willie Eyre with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of a blowout Twins victory Sunday. Eyre retired the next batter to close out the series.
In the three games, the Pirates hit .100 (3-for-30) against Twins relievers with nine strikeouts.
Johan Santana (7-4) pitched another stellar seven innings Sunday to earn his third straight victory, beating the Pirates 8-2. Santana lowered his ERA to 2.87 -- now second in the league to the 2.85 mark of Toronto's Roy Halladay.
The Twins' ninth victory in 10 games lifted their season record to .500 for the first time since they were 7-7 on April 19.
BY THE NUMBERS: 36 --Days between victories for RHP Carlos Silva, who finally got a win June 15 when he beat Boston.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "When I was on first base, (Pirates 1B) Sean Casey said, 'That's just sick,' He said, 'I've never seen anything like that.'" -- CF Torii Hunter, on the Pirates' reaction to their first look at Twins rookie LHP Francisco Liriano.