Dozier homers twice, Twins beat White Sox 6-4
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) With 12 years in the major leagues under his belt, Ervin Santana has learned to remain calm on the mound.
Through sloppy play behind him and his name prominent in rumors ahead of the trade deadline, the veteran right-hander displayed his poise again Sunday.
Brian Dozier homered twice to support Santana's six innings as Minnesota beat the Chicago White Sox 6-4. Kennys Vargas hit a two-run homer as part of a three-run first inning for the Twins, who have won three of four games.
''It takes time ... because it's a lot of frustration,'' Santana said of learning to overcome defensive errors. ''Then if you take every one into the next batter that you face, it's going to be a lot of trouble. So, just trying not to think about it and just try to make a good pitch.''
Minnesota committed four errors on Sunday. But Santana (4-9) pitched his way through, allowing three runs - one earned - in six innings with five strikeouts. Ryan Pressly gave up a double to Melky Cabrera but recorded his first major league save.
Santana's demeanor didn't change, just as he has little reaction to his name being mentioned in trade rumors with the Twins floundering in last place. Minnesota sent its lone All-Star representative, infielder Eduardo Nunez, to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.
''I don't know, never know,'' Santana said of facing Monday's trade deadline. ''We're still here today, so you never know tomorrow.''
Santana has allowed more than two earned runs just once in his last eight starts, but is just 3-2 in that span. Starting pitching is seemingly scarce among potential trading partners, but Twins interim general manager Rob Antony has said he's willing to hold on to Santana, who has two years remaining on the four-year, $55 million contract he signed prior to last season.
Santana didn't allow a hit until Adam Eaton's leadoff bloop single in the fourth. Two runs came across in the fourth after Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario had throwing errors on back-to-back plays.
''He's just like the Ervin of old time,'' Dozier said. ''He's doing his thing right now, it's fun to watch.''
Chicago is also in selling mode after starting the season 23-10. The White Sox sent left-hander reliever Zach Duke to the St. Louis Cardinals for speedy minor-league outfielder Charlie Tilson before Sunday's game.
Carlos Rodon (2-8) made his first start since July 5 after recovering from a sprained left wrist but gave up five earned runs and eight hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
''It's not an excuse,'' Rodon said. ''I just got to be better. A team scores four runs, you got to keep these guys at less than four, man, that's my job. I didn't do it today.''
MORE DEFENSIVE SLOPPINESS
Sano made his 14th error of the season when he threw wide of first base.
After a trial in right field, the Twins put Sano back at his more natural third base position when he returned from the disabled list on July 1, but the miscues have continued. He has 11 errors in 26 games at third base.
Sano has also struck out 39 times in his last 94 at-bats.
A third unearned run scored in the seventh after second baseman Jorge Polanco was unable to corral a grounder up the middle.
''It's a little bit painful when you have that much difficulty,'' Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. ''We all know physical errors are part of the game, but some of it is just poise-related. ... We didn't pick up our pitcher very well. We made it tough on Ervin.''
White Sox: Todd Frazier returned after missing two games with the flu. He started at first base and went 0 for 2 with two walks.
Twins: OF Byron Buxton left the game in the second with right knee soreness. Buxton got on base with a walk and stole second base standing up even as Chicago catcher Omar Narvaez made a throw. When Grossman grounded to third, Buxton pulled up heading into third base. Molitor said the team is optimistic that there isn't structural damage, but Buxton won't travel with the team to Cleveland and will have an MRI on Monday.
White Sox: Chicago begins a series at Detroit with RHP James Shields (5-12, 4.68 ERA) starting against RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-11, 6.56). Shields pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs in his last outing.
Twins: Molitor confirmed after the game that prospect Jose Berrios (1-1, 10.20) will be recalled to start Monday at Cleveland in place of Tyler Duffey. Berrios will be countered by RHP Danny Salazar (11-3, 2.97). Duffey will transfer to the bullpen.