Chicago won for only the second time in eight games Friday with a 2-1, 10-inning victory in the series opener. The White Sox maintained a 4 1/2 -game lead over second-place Cleveland in the AL Central.
Santana stands in the way of Chicago making it two straight. He is 3-0 with a 1.16 ERA in three starts against the White Sox this season, striking out 28 over 23 1-3 innings.
The 26-year-old left-hander had Wednesday’s start at Detroit pushed back to Saturday due to a blister on his middle finger. Santana began having problems with the blister during a 4-2 loss at Cleveland on Sept. 9, when he surrendered four runs and eight hits over five innings.
Santana’s last start against the White Sox was a dominant effort on Aug. 17. He came within two outs of a complete game and yielded one run and six hits to outduel Mark Buehrle, 1-0 in a performance that drew plenty of praise from Chicago.
“With all respect to Buehrle, Randy Johnson and whoever, he’s the best left-hander in the game right now,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said
Santana is 6-4 with a 4.14 ERA against Chicago in 17 career appearances, including 11 starts.
The White Sox managed only six hits in Friday’s series opener, but got three in the decisive 10th inning. Joe Crede’s RBI infield hit put Chicago ahead for good.
Chicago rookie Bobby Jenks recorded the final four outs for his first major league win. Jenks has an 0.49 ERA over his last 13 appearances, and may be in line to take over as the team’s closer due to Dustin Hermanson’s struggles.
Hermanson blew a save chance in Wednesday’s loss at Kansas City and has a 6.75 ERA over his last five appearances.
Chicago starter Orlando Hernandez is 1-5 with a 6.02 ERA over his last seven starts. Hernandez gave up four runs and five hits—including three homers—in a season-low two innings of Sunday’s 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
“Duque didn’t throw the ball the way we like him to throw the ball,” Guillen said. “Most of the balls that got hit were hit hard.”
Hernandez is 2-0 with an 0.69 ERA in two starts against Minnesota this season.