CHICAGO -- In a pitchers' battle befiting staff aces, Ervin Santana was a bit sharper than Jose Quintana during Minnesota's 4-1 victory over the White Sox in Sunday's series finale at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Santana worked six shutout innings and 87 pitches, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out four. Quintana bounced back from a subpar Opening Day performance against the Tigers by limiting the Twins to two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking one in 100 pitches.
Minnesota padded the lead on Miguel Sano's two-run homer to center in the eighth off of reliever Nate Jones. Brian Dozier and Grossman opened the inning with singles, but Jones had a chance to escape after inducing a Mauer double-play grounder. Sano wouldn't let him off the hook, with his long drive featuring an exit velocity of 111 mph and a launch angle of 29 degrees, with a hit probability of 98 percent, according to Statcast™.
"It was good win coming back after yesterday," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Ervin did a really nice job. We had some big hits with Robbie and Joe combining for a run. Jorge Polanco and Miggy kind of sealed the deal as far as offense was concerned."
That home run marked the first runs allowed by the White Sox bullpen this season. It also ended Jones' scoreless streak at 11 2/3 innings over his last 11 games dating back to last season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Polanco punishes pitch:Polanco gave the Twins a two-run lead by going deep on a 1-2 pitch from Quintana leading off the seventh. He just missed a home run on the pitch before, but Quintana then caught too much of the plate with a 91.8 mph - four-seam fastball. After getting the next baseball, Quintana knocked himself in the head with the ball indicating his frustration over that pitch.
"I was just trying to stay back and react to the fastball," Polanco said. "Just trying to hit it hard."
"Frustrated with the pitch," Quintana said. "It was a 1-2 count. I knew I had two more pitches to get him to chase or something. I missed with fastball. Little emotion at that time."
Second-inning escapes: Both the Twins and White Sox had runners on first and second with nobody out in the second, but neither team scored. Miguel Sano doubled to left-center, with an exit velocity of 109.1 mph per Statcast™, followed by Jason Castro drawing a walk. But Quintana struck out Polando, retired Eddie Rosario on a fly ball to right and then struck out Byron Buxton to end the frame. Todd Frazier walked and Cody Asche singled off of Santana in the bottom half of the inning, but a running catch by Rosario in left on Yolmer Sanchez's opposite-field drive staved off any trouble. Quintana threw 34 pitches in the second alone.
"I'm not happy because we don't have results. We think we could have won the series. But you just keep going. I'll have a chance again next time." -- Quintana, on whether he was happy to have better results than Opening Day.
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Sano had two of the three hardest-hit balls in the game, per Statcast™. His double in the second had an exit velocity of 109.1 mph while his homer left the bat at 111 mph.
UNUSUAL MOUND WOES
Dating back to Sept. 1, 2016, Quintana has a 2-5 record with a 5.51 ERA in eight starts covering 47 1/3 innings pitched. Those numbers do not include his World Baseball Classic start for Colombia.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: After an off-day on Monday, the Twins begin a three-game series against the Tigers in Detroit on Tuesday at 12:10 p.m. CT. Left-hander Hector Santiago, who limited the Royals to one run over five innings in his season debut, starts for Minnesota opposite Detroit lefty Matt Boyd.
White Sox: The White Sox get an off-day Monday and then travel to Cleveland for the Indians' home opener Tuesday, with a first pitch scheduled for 3:10 p.m. CT. James Shields, who beat the Tigers in his first start Thursday, gets the call against Cleveland.