The Minnesota Twins’ ace looks to continue his home dominance over his AL Central rival when the teams open a three-game series Monday afternoon.
Since Sept. 14, 2004, Santana (5-4, 3.05 ERA) is 6-0 with a 0.82 ERA in six home starts against the White Sox. He’s struck out 53 batters in that span while walking only six.
The left-hander is 11-5 with a 3.04 ERA in 26 games - 19 starts - overall in his career versus Chicago.
On the road on April 8, he allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings while striking out nine and walking three in Minnesota’s 3-1 win over the White Sox.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner also helped the Twins avoid a three-game losing skid Tuesday, when he allowed one run and four hits with a season-high 13 strikeouts in seven innings of a 7-1 victory at Texas.
“He’s a guy who can right a ship,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s the best pitcher in the league. When he has the ball, we think we should win.”
Santana will try to stop a Chicago club which has won four of six overall and is 3-2 against Minnesota this season.
Minnesota (24-25) beat Toronto 4-2 on Sunday for its fourth win in five games. Justin Morneau went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs for the Twins, who haven’t been at .500 since they were 17-17 on May 10.
Morneau has hit safely in 10 straight games, going 14-for-40 (.350) with four homers and 14 RBIs during the run. The reigning AL MVP is 4-for-16 against Chicago in 2007, but three of those hits have been homers - including a game-winner in the bottom of the 10th inning of a 7-4 victory on May 8.
The White Sox (24-21) lost 11-5 to Tampa Bay on Sunday, allowing 11 runs for the third time this month. The bullpen gave up six of Sunday’s runs, including three in one inning from Andrew Sisco, who was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte after the game.
“We’ve got to do something about it,” said Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen, whose bullpen has a 10.16 ERA since May 13. “It’s a shame to see those guys suffer after they had been throwing the ball so well.”
Third baseman Joe Crede went 2-for-2 with three RBIs for the White Sox in Sunday’s defeat, improving to 4-for-6 in two games since returning from back stiffness.
Jose Contreras (4-4, 3.71) will take the mound for Chicago on Monday. He allowed three runs and nine hits, with a season-high eight strikeouts, in 6 1-3 innings of Chicago’s 8-5 win over Oakland last Monday.
Contreras pitched a five-hitter against the Twins on May 10 as Chicago won 3-0. The right-hander is 4-2 with a 3.11 ERA in nine games - eight starts - against Minnesota.