Polanco (2 HRs), Santana lead Twins past Sox 30 Aug 17

MINNEAPOLIS – Ervin Santana threw 6 2/3 strong innings and Jorge Polanco registered his first career multi-homer game to lead the Twins to a 6-4 win over the White Sox in the series opener Tuesday night at Target Field. The win helped Minnesota retain its lead as the second AL Wild Card team.

“Overall, it was a good win at this time of year to open up the homestand,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You have to take it and be happy with that.”

Veteran righty James Shields started for the White Sox and allowed four runs on five hits and five walks over five innings, extending his losing streak to four straight games. The five walks by Shields matched a season high, which he hadn’t done since the first start of the season. Minnesota scored two runs in the first inning and never trailed.

“I thought he kept us in the ballgame. Most people didn’t know he was a little under the weather, actually,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. “He ground through it. He ended up, I think, trying to do what he needed to do to keep us in striking distance.”

Polanco helped the Twins extend their lead with a solo homer off Shields in the third. He later added a solo shot off left-hander Aaron Bummer in the seventh, giving him homers from both sides of the plate. Polanco has nine homers this year, seven of which have come against the White Sox.

“I’m hitting the ball pretty good,” Polanco said. “I’m trying to hit my pitch and eliminate swinging at bad pitches. I think it’s going well.”

The powerful performance helped back Santana, who surrendered three runs on seven hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. He gave up a run on an RBI double to Avisail Garcia in the sixth before surrendering two more in the seventh. Santana was lifted after a sacrifice fly from Yolmer Sanchez. Reliever Trevor Hildenberger then allowed an inherited run to score on a bloop RBI double from Jose Abreu, who went 4-for-4 with a walk.

Abreu drove in another run in the ninth against Matt Belisle, but the Twins’ closer got out of a jam to get his fifth save.