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.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Shields' wildness costs him: Shields nearly got out of the first inning unscathed, getting a potential double-play grounder from Eddie Rosario with runners the corners with one out. But Shields' throw to second sailed high, allowing Brian Dozier to come home from third. Shields then threw a wild pitch to Byron Buxton, the reigning American League Player of the Week, which allowed Rosario to reach second and eventually score on Buxton's two-out RBI single.
"If I make a throw in the first inning, we get out of there with no runs and it's a whole different ballgame," Shields said. "I have to do a better job of throwing the ball to second base and getting the double play."
Santana's K's end threats: The White Sox had runners at second and third with two outs in the third, but Santana struck out Garcia on a 3-2 fastball to get out of the inning. Chicago had another scoring chance with two runners on and two outs in the sixth after Santana walked Kevan Smith, but he again got a key strikeout, fanning Tyler Saladino on a 1-2 fastball.
"I felt pretty good," Santana said. "It was a lot of in and out, up and down, and then sliders away."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Polanco became the fifth Twins player to homer from both sides of the plate, joining Roy Smalley, Chili Davis, Ryan Doumit and Kennys Vargas.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
It took less than a minute to overturn a pickoff play in the fourth inning, which granted the White Sox their second out of the frame. Chicago challenged the call that second baseman Sanchez had placed the tag in time on Vargas, who was originally ruled safe, on a pickoff attempt by Shields. After a replay review that lasted 50 seconds, Vargas was ultimately ruled out.
The Twins also successfully challenged a play in the fifth, when Polanco was ruled out at second on a stolen base attempt. After a review, the call was overturned and Polanco was awarded his 10th stolen base of the year.
The only unsuccessful challenge took place in the ninth. Chicago challenged the call that Alen Hanson was ruled out on a groundout to first. However, the call stood after a review that lasted one minute, 16 seconds.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: Left-hander Derek Holland (7-13, 6.05 ERA) is slated to take the mound for Chicago at 7:10 p.m. CT. In his last start, Holland spun six innings of one-run ball against the Twins to earn the win. Holland has gone 0-4 with a 7.77 ERA in five career starts at Target Field.
Twins: Right-hander Jose Berrios (11-6, 4.04 ERA) is set to start for the Twins in the second game of the series on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Berrios was hurt by his defense last time out, allowing five runs (three earned) over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the White Sox.