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.”