MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota catcher Chris Gimenez looked at the scoreboard during the ninth inning and noticed Ervin Santana had allowed only a single hit.
“I had no idea,” Gimenez said with a smile.
Santana pitched a one-hitter for the first complete-game victory by a pitcher in the major leagues this season, and the Minnesota Twins beat the White Sox 6-0 Saturday to stop Chicago’s three-game winning streak.
Santana (3-0) won his third straight start, striking out eight, walking one and retiring his final 18 batters as he lowered his ERA to 0.41.
“It’s one of those special ones that’s going to be marked down in one of the record history books here,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You don’t see one-hitters every day.”
Santana also pitched a one-hitter for the Los Angeles Angels against Arizona on June 16, 2012, and he threw a no-hitter for the Angels at Cleveland on July 27, 2011.
He felt sharper in this start than he did during his no-hitter. Santana needed just 11 pitches to close out the ninth, striking out Jacob May, retiring Tim Anderson on a popup and inducing Avisail Garcia to ground out.
“I know if I get somebody on base, that’s going to be it,'” Santana said. “So I just tried to throw strikes and keep the ball down for the most part.”
Chicago had just two runners: Omar Narvaez singled with one out in the third and Garcia walked leading off the fourth. Narvaez’s hit came on a changeup, and Gimenez made sure to give his pitcher some ribbing about it after the game.
“I said, ‘If you would’ve listened to me and just thrown a fastball in we’d have thrown a no-hitter,'” he said with a laugh.
Santana has pitched 18 scoreless innings since allowing his only earned run of the season, against Kansas City on opening day.
It was just the third complete game in the major leagues this season after San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner allowed six hits in a loss at San Diego on April 8 and Toronto’s Marcus Stroman gave up seven hits in a home defeat against Milwaukee on Wednesday.
Later Saturday, Colorado’s Tyler Chatwood pitched two-hitter in a 5-0 win over San Francisco.
Jose Quintana (0-3) gave up hits to six of his first seven batters in a 39-pitch first inning, including Max Kepler’s two-run triple. Quintana allowed five runs, nine hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings, raising his ERA to 6.75. Chicago’s starters had a 2.40 ERA in the previous eight games.
“All in all he gave us a chance,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. “To come back like that and give us five more innings, that’s big for him. It shows what kind of competiveness he has in him. He was dominant.”
Joe Mauer and Jorge Polanco had run-scoring singles in the first, and Miguel Sano hit a RBI double as Minnesota took a 5-0 lead. The Twins had five extra-base hits against Quintana.
“You just couldn’t draw it up any better,” Molitor said. “You’re facing a really good pitcher and you ambush him and put up a five spot.”
Robbie Grossman added a RBI single in the eighth against Michael Ynoa.
White Sox: 3B Todd Frazier left after the third inning due to a recurrence of flu-like symptoms. . . . May went 0 for 3 in his return from a three-game break. May is hitless with two RBI over his first 20 plate appearances. “I think that having him step back a little bit, just watch the game again, see how everybody goes about their business, puts him in a better position to kind of know, ‘You’re going to be OK,'” Renteria said.
Twins: 2B Brian Dozier did not play because of swelling in his right knee. Minnesota said an MRI showed no damage. “With the early stages of the year and the wet conditions and all those things, I didn’t want to push the issue today,” Molitor said.
RHP James Shields (1-0) is slated to start Sunday’s series finale for Chicago. He allowed one run and two hits over 5 1/3 innings in each of his first two starts. Hector Santiago (1-1) starts the series finale for Minnesota after going 4-0 against the White Sox last year.