Twins 3, White Sox 1

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CHICAGO (AP)—Johan Santana insisted he doesn’t care who he faces. Considering how well he pitches against the Chicago White Sox, one has to wonder.

Santana shut them down again, allowing one hit over seven scoreless innings to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 3-1 victory on Sunday.

“That’s the way I am,” Santana said. “I’ll do it to any team. I don’t have any preference for any teams. I don’t disrespect any teams. … That’s the way I’ve been doing it. I’m always going to stay aggressive and do my job.”

Justin Morneau hit a three-run homer off rookie John Danks in the fourth inning, and that was enough for Santana (2-0), who struggled a bit with his control early on before retiring the final 17 batters he faced.

The reigning AL Cy Young winner struck out nine and walked three while improving to 10-1 in his last 12 starts against Chicago. The lone hit off him was a bloop single to right by Joe Crede leading off the second, but White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen thinks he knows how to get to Santana.

“I’m going to call my mom in Venezuela to come here and cook for him,” Guillen joked. “We’ll poison him. If he eats what my mom cooks, he will be in trouble to pitch the next day.”

Santana laughed when told about that and said, “Whatever it is (it’s) going to be good. We’ll have fun.”

What happened Sunday wasn’t fun for the White Sox batters, who managed four hits.

Chicago’s Juan Uribe hit a solo homer—his second in as many days—off Jesse Crain with one out in the eighth. Joe Nathan allowed two hits in the ninth, but earned his third save.

Danks (0-1) was solid in his major-league debut, allowing four hits in six innings while striking out six and walking two.

“My biggest weapon is throwing strikes—make them put it in play, let the guys behind me work,” he said. “I really tried to do that. Aside from the two walks, I did a good job of that.”

Guillen likes to call the Twins “piranhas” for the way they pick at opponents, and they showed just enough bite Sunday to salvage a two-game split on this bone-chilling weekend.

Friday night’s game was postponed due to the cold, and the gametime temperature Saturday was 31 degrees with a 20-degree wind chill. The Twins then managed three hits against Javier Vazquez and four relievers as the White Sox won 3-0.

At 36 degrees, the gametime temperature was slightly higher on Sunday—but still cold enough to chill the bones.

No wonder the Twins weren’t too sad about returning home.

Michael Cuddyer let out a “Dome, sweet Dome” afterward. And manager Ron Gardenhire wondered if it really was warmer on Sunday.

“I don’t know what the weather report said, but I thought it was colder today than it was yesterday,” he said. “Out of that sun, it was cold.”

It wasn’t comfortable on the field, either. Santana had trouble finding the right grip early on, but shut down the White Sox once he did.

The Twins got to Danks in the fourth.

Joe Mauer led off with a single and moved to third when Cuddyer followed with a base hit. Morneau then drove the first pitch to the right-field bullpen for his second homer. The next batter, Torii Hunter, narrowly missed a home run when his shot down the right-field line landed a few feet foul.

“All I was trying to do was get that one run in,” Morneau said. “I got it in the air, like I was trying to do. I got it a little better than I thought, and it carried over.”

That pitch aside, Danks made few mistakes.

Drafted ninth overall by Texas in 2003, he came to Chicago in the deal that sent Brandon McCarthy to the Rangers in December. He earned the No. 5 spot in spring training and pitched well on Sunday.

“If this kid throws the ball the way he did today, he’s going to have a real successful career,” Guillen said. “The thing I like about him is he never loses control; he wasn’t any different from spring training to today.”

Notes

Twins OF Rondell White, a late scratch from Saturday’s game with a strained right calf, did not play on Sunday. “It’s better than yesterday but (my return) is still up in the air,” he said. “It’s still a little tight. But I think I’ll be fine.” … Pablo Ozuna made a nice catch in left when he lunged into the seats to snag a foul ball by the game’s first batter, Luis Castillo. … White Sox C Toby Hall, expected to miss at least the first month with a torn right labrum, will start throwing on Monday. Hall was injured diving for a ground ball late in spring training.

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