Sizzling Santana, bullpen hold White Sox in check

CHICAGO — After winning five of their first six games, the surprising Minnesota Twins have the best record in the American League. And they don’t plan on looking back.

Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco homered to back Ervin Santana’s six scoreless innings as the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 4-1 on Sunday for their best start since 2010.

Minnesota finished with the worst mark in the majors last season at 59-103.

“We have a lot of good defense, a lot of good offense right now,” Santana said. “So we just have to keep it up and don’t worry about the past.”

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Santana (2-0) held the White Sox to two singles and lowered his ERA to 0.69.

Jose Quintana (0-2) regrouped from a rough opening day start to allow two runs and strike out seven in 6 1/3 innings. Quintana, who has been the subject of trade speculation for the rebuilding White Sox, gave up six runs and three homers against Detroit in his season debut. Last year, he was an All-Star and set career bests for ERA (3.20) and strikeouts (181).

“I’m not happy because we don’t have results,” Quintana said.

Cody Asche’s single in the second was Chicago’s only hit until Jose Abreu singled in the sixth.

Santana has allowed four hits and one run in 13 innings this season.

“He makes it look easy at times,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.

Molitor said he wanted to conserve Santana, who threw 87 pitches, for the long season. That was OK with the right-hander.

“We’re competing right now. Everything is going our way,” Santana said.

Brandon Kintzler got four outs for his third save in three opportunities. With the bases loaded in the eighth, he hit Avisail Garcia with a pitch to bring in a run.

Kintzler was checked by a trainer in the ninth after issuing a leadoff walk. He had a cracked nail, according to Molitor.

“It was bleeding, but he said he was fine, and he kind of threw better than he did prior to that,” Molitor said.

White Sox relievers had not permitted an earned run in 14 2/3 innings before Sano’s two-run shot off Nate Jones in the eighth. Sano went 2 for 4 with a double and is 7 for 20 (.350) with two home runs this season.

Polanco hit his first home run leading off the seventh against Quintana. The left-hander has given up four homers in 11 2/3 innings.

Minnesota has won seven of 11 against the White Sox. The Twins lost their first game Saturday after they had a chance to start 5-0 for the first time since 1968.

BY THE NUMBERS

The Twins have won their first two series for the first time since 2013. Last season, they didn’t win their fifth game until April 21.

GETTING PHYSICAL

Quintana smacked himself in the head with the ball after giving up Polanco’s home run — mimicking former teammate Chris Sale. “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.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: INF Ehire Adrianza (oblique strain) is taking swings underwater and expected to swing off a tee. Molitor said Adrianza will take “baby steps” returning from the injury. . LHP Ryan O’Rourke (forearm strain) is not ready to begin throwing due to tenderness.

White Sox: Manager Rick Renteria said the team is debating whether RHP Dylan Covey will start Friday or Saturday at Minnesota in his major league debut. Covey is filling in for LHP Carlos Rodon (biceps bursitis). . The team will re-evaluate RHP Jake Petricka (lat strain) in 10 days, Renteria said.

UP NEXT

Twins: After an off day, LHP Hector Santiago (1-0, 1.80 ERA) is scheduled to pitch Tuesday in Detroit against LHP Matt Boyd (0-1, 19.29).

White Sox: RHP James Shields (1-0, 1.69) starts Tuesday at Cleveland against RHP Carlos Carrasco (1-0, 3.18).