Backed by Buxton, Santiago silences White Sox

Backed by Buxton, Santiago silences White Sox

CHICAGO -- The White Sox drafted Hector Santiago in 2006 and developed him as a starter, closer and everything in between. The left-hander has shown his gratitude by beating the White Sox yet again on Saturday night at U.S. Cellular Field, as Santiago pushed the Twins to a 6-0 victory.

Santiago spun 6 1/3 scoreless frames against his former team, scattering three hits and three walks to get the win. Santiago improved to 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA in four starts against the White Sox this year. He also finished 3-6 with a 5.58 ERA in 11 starts with Minnesota after being acquired from the Angels at the Trade Deadline.

"In the last two years, I've pitched really well against them," Santiago said. "I know these guys and know their entire staff. I came up through the organization with a lot of those guys. I don't know, maybe I have a chip on my shoulder after being traded."

Buxton hauls it in

"Just sneaky, man," said White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier of Santiago. "He's throwing 91, hit 93 at times. Sitting there like what the heck is going on. I'm swinging through, got a hole in my bat. Maybe it's motion or he's a competitor."

James Shields suffered the defeat, despite working seven innings. The Twins got to him for two in the fourth after he retired the first nine, two in the fifth and one in the seventh. Shields finished the season with 19 losses between stops in San Diego and Chicago and with a 4-12 mark in 22 starts for the White Sox, striking out seven and walking three in his final trip to the mound this season.

Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco delivered two-run blasts in support of Santiago. Buxton also scored from first with two outs in the seventh on Juan Centeno's double and did the same with two outs in the ninth.

Centeno's run-scoring double

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hip, Hip Jorge: The Twins didn't get their first hit off Shields until the fourth inning, but it came on a two-run shot to right from Polanco after Brian Dozier drew a walk. It was the rookie's fourth homer of the year. Polanco's homer came on a 1-0 changeup, leaving the bat at 97 mph and going a projected 378 feet, per Statcast™.

"We didn't have a ton of hits but took advantage following up walks with homers," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Polanco got a changeup that was up a little bit, and he took advantage."

Polanco's two-run big fly

Turning 40 is tough: With two home runs allowed Saturday night, Shields has given up 40 on the season and allowed 31 in 22 starts with the White Sox. Shields became the first pitcher to allow 40 homers in a season since Bronson Arroyo (46) for the 2011 Reds.

"I made two bad pitches, and I think the one to Buxton was actually down and away, and he just went out and got it," Shields said. "That's just the kind of year I'm having. I make two bad pitches, and it costs me."

Shields strikes out Dozier

Buck shot: Buxton has been impressive since being called up on Sept. 1, as the rookie center fielder crushed his eighth homer since rejoining the Twins. Buxton jumped on a 2-2 cutter, sending it a projected 404 feet, per Statcast™. It also had an exit velocity of 103 mph.

"We're seeing improvement from his at-bats, especially after falling behind early," Molitor said. "We talk about process a lot, but the more you get into those situations, you can learn what guys are trying to do once they get ahead of you."

Buxton's two-run dinger

Just short of 100: Entering Sunday's final game, Jose Abreu sits at 99 RBIs and Frazier is at 98. The two combined to finish 0-for-6 with two walks drawn by Abreu on Saturday.

"I remember Dusty Baker always told us, 'Round those numbers up at the end of the year,'" Frazier said. "He had 99 RBIs one time, and he was sick to his stomach not getting 100. Right now I'm pressing these last two games trying to get to 100 instead of squaring the ball up and going from there."

QUOTABLE
"I think we figured out some things over the last month to carry into the offseason and into Spring Training." -- Shields, who had a 6.77 ERA with the White Sox

DOZIER LEAVES WITH INJURY
Dozier exited the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with right oblique soreness, getting replaced by Eduardo Escobar. Dozier went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk at the plate and isn't likely to play in the series finale on Sunday. He remains one RBI short of 100 and one homer short of tying the record for the most homers by a player who primarily played second base.

"I think in an earlier stage in my career I would've been playing, but I didn't want to be stupid," Dozier said. "My right side kept tightening up, and I felt it on every swing. I might be from Mississippi but I ain't dumb. I always play through injuries, but with where we're at, I didn't want to push it." More >

WHAT'S NEXT
Twins: Rookie right-hander Jose Berrios (2-7, 8.61 ERA) will start in the season finale for the Twins on Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field at 2:10 p.m. CT. Berrios is looking to end the year on a high note, as the highly touted 22-year-old has registered only one quality start in 13 outings.

White Sox: Chris Sale (17-9, 3.21) gets the honor of pitching the season finale for the White Sox, looking for a single-season career-high in victories. He will be making a 32nd start, but he won't likely won't add to his Major League-leading six complete games, as he won't work all the way unless something special is taking place.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.