Hector Santiago was unexpectedly thrown back into the stopper role on Monday night. This time the converted closer was needed to help end a skid.
He did. Santiago won in his first major league start and Gordon Beckham hit a two-run homer as the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-2 on Monday night.
After falling out of sole possession of first place in the AL Central on Sunday night following a 1-6 road trip and being swept by the Tigers, the White Sox won the first of a 10-game homestand. They moved a game up on Detroit, which lost to Cleveland 3-2.
”Hector did a great job. You ask him to start, a guy that’s gone from being a closer and being in the bullpen. He got sent down and stretched him out. This is a big one,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. ”You’re asking him to stop a losing streak and he pitched a great game.”
With the White Sox playing at night on Sunday, Santiago was sent back home ahead of the team flight.
”I got home last night and watched the entire game. I watched every inning. I knew what today meant and I knew today was a big game especially after the game was over and we lost,” Santiago said. ”I knew I had to come out and be ready and give ourselves a chance to win.”
Many of the White Sox players watched the Tigers’ last out before going out to stretch while manager Robin Ventura practiced his putting in his office.
The White Sox have won eight straight at home and 22 of their past 27 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Jamey Carroll hit his first home run in three seasons for the Twins, who are 25 games below .500.
Santiago (3-1) pitched five-plus innings and allowed one run on three hits. He struck out six and walked three. Santiago started the season as the White Sox closer and later moved to a middle reliever. The rookie was sent to Triple-A Charlotte to be stretched out as a starter.
”It’s been fun because you never know what you’re going to do,” Santiago said. ”One day you’re closing, the next day you are in long relief, next day coming in against a lefty. Now I’m starting. It’s just fun, you never know what to expect. The other day I threw an inning, ‘You’re done, you are starting Monday.’ I was like, ‘OK,’ kind of shocking but … It’s kind of exciting because you never know what is going to happen.”
Santiago took Gavin Floyd’s turn in the rotation who is out with a sore right shoulder.
Addison Reed pitched a scoreless ninth for his 25th save in 29 chances. The White Sox needed six relievers to secure the win.
Home run leader Adam Dunn was 1 for 3 with a double after missing Chicago’s previous two games with an oblique strain.
Twins starter Samuel Deduno (5-3) allowed two runs over six on six hits. He struck out three and walked three.
A.J. Pierzynski led off with a single in the second inning, two outs later, Beckham hit an 0-2 pitch from Deduno over the left-field fence for his 13th of the season.
”I wanted to throw a changeup on the outside, instead it was inside,” Deduno said. ”That was the mistake.”
Carroll hit his first home run since Aug. 9, 2009, with one out in the fifth inning to cut the White Sox lead to 2-1. The long ball for Carroll snapped a streak of 1,348 at-bats without a homer, which was the longest active streak in the majors.
The home run was pulled down the left field line.
”I was just hoping it would stay fair. When I rounded first I saw the umpire give the signal,” Carroll said.
Ben Revere robbed Kevin Youkilis of extra bases in the fifth with a running catch on the left-center warning track.
Santiago got help from reliever Nate Jones and Donnie Veal as they stranded Darin Mastroianni at third in the sixth inning.
Youkilis doubled with one out in the seventh off Minnesota reliever Kyle Waldrop. Then with two outs Youkilis scored on Paul Konerko’s single to extend the lead to 3-1. Youkilis earlier snapped out of a 0-for-19 skid and was 2 for 3 on the night.
Joe Mauer doubled in the eighth off reliever Matt Thornton and scored on Justin Morneau’s single to get Minnesota back within one run.
Beckham gave the White Sox an insurance run with his third RBI of the game in the eighth. Alexei Ramirez hit a two-out single then stole second and scored on Beckham’s single.
NOTES: The White Sox held a pregame tribute for former reliever and assistant coach Kevin Hickey, who died on May 14. The White Sox dedicated the batting cage in his name. … Twins are expected to call up INF Eduardo Escobar from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday. Escobar was acquired from the White Sox in the Francisco Liriano deal. Minnesota also plans to call up reliever Luis Perdomo from Rochester on Tuesday. … Josh Willingham was back in the lineup as the designated hitter after missing a game with a sore hamstring. He was 0 for 4.