By Rhett Bollinger and Patrick Donnelly
MINNEAPOLIS -- Ervin Santana continued his strong start to the season with a one-hit shutout and was backed by a five-run first inning to lead the Twins to a 6-0 win over the White Sox on Saturday at Target Field.
Santana gave up a hit in the third and a walk in the fourth and struck out eight. The right-hander improved to 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA this year, and has surrendered just five hits in 22 innings. Santana retired the final 18 batters to record his ninth career shutout.
"It was one of those special ones that'll be marked down in the history books here," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You don't see one-hitters every day. He was efficient and under control. He only had one little hiccup with a five-pitch walk and falling behind the next guy, but he recovered from that. You couldn't draw it up any better."
"I learned a lot today," Quintana said. "I know they have confidence in me even though I started slow, but that happens. [The Twins] were aggressive in the first inning and I just tried to continue to fight through the game."
Miguel Sano had an RBI double as part of the five-run first, while Max Kepler capped the inning with a two-run triple. Kepler also doubled in the third. Byron Buxton, who is off to a rough start offensively, also doubled in the sixth. The Twins got an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI single from Robbie Grossman, who was 2-for-3 with two walks.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Five-run outburst: Quintana immediately found himself in a trouble, giving up a leadoff double to Grossman, who promptly scored on an RBI single from Joe Mauer. Sano followed with his RBI double before scoring on a single from Jorge Polanco. After Chris Gimenez struck out, Eduardo Escobar singled and Kepler brought home two runs on a triple to right. It was more than enough offense for Santana.
"You're facing a top pitcher and you throw up a five-spot," Molitor said. "Our guys came out and had quality at-bats. It started with Grossman and went right on down the line."
Narvaez gets lone hit: White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez stroked a clean single into left-center with one out in the third, and it turned out to be Chicago's only hit of the game. Santana, who has one career no-hitter in 2011, was stuck with a one-hitter as a result. It was his second-career one-hitter, as he also had one against the D-backs, while pitching for the Angels, in 2012. Santana said he wasn't thinking about the possibility of a no-hitter at that point, however.
"It was a changeup just a little bit up," Santana said. "But I didn't want to get too ahead of myself."
"I told him after the game that if he would've just listened to me and thrown a fastball in, we would've had a no-hitter. But yeah, it was a changeup left up. It was the pitch he wanted to throw, and if he gets it down it's probably a grounder or a swing and a miss. So that one is his fault completely." -- Gimenez, sarcastically joking about the lone hit allowed by Santana.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Santana's one-hitter was the first in Target Field history. The last Twins pitcher to throw a one-hitter was Scott Baker on Aug. 31, 2007 at the Metrodome.
FRAZIER LEAVES WITH ILLNESS
White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier exited the game in the fourth inning with flu-like symptoms. Frazier went 0-for-2 with a strikeout before being replaced by Matt Davidson. More >
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: Right-hander James Shields (1-0, 1.69 ERA) is looking to continue his strong start on Sunday when the White Sox face the Twins at 3:10 p.m. CT in the rubber game. Shields has allowed just one earned run in each of his two starts this year.
Twins: Lefty Hector Santiago is set to start in the series finale. Santiago (1-1, 2.38 ERA) is off to an encouraging start this year and limited the Tigers to two runs over 6 1/3 innings last time out.