MINNEAPOLIS — Hector Santiago overcame a root canal to make his start Tuesday against Detroit — getting a no-decision for his effort.
Despite ending up in a few jams Sunday against the Twins, Santiago escaped mostly pain-free and finally picked up a win.
Alexei Ramirez homered and had three RBIs, Santiago won for the first time since June 21 and the Chicago White Sox beat Minnesota 5-2.
“I felt like I was having a root canal through most of it,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “That’s just kind of the way he pitches. Over the course of the season, he finds a way to get into a little bit of trouble and then get out.”
Santiago (4-7) wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning, retiring Trevor Plouffe and Oswaldo Arcia on popups.
Brian Dozier had two hits and an RBI for Minnesota, which went 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position and lost for the fifth time in six games.
“I’m back to 100 percent,” said Santiago, who had thrown 96 pitches when he loaded the bases in the fifth. “I reared back a little bit and had some pitches that had some movement. They ran in a little bit on guys and I got two soft fly balls to get out of it.”
Ramirez finished a triple shy of the cycle. He homered to lead off the fifth inning, giving Chicago a 4-2 lead and helping his team win its first road series in more than a month.
Jeff Keppinger’s single scored Avisail Garcia to make it 5-2 later in the fifth.
The Twins have 29 homers in their past 29 games but are struggling to hit with runners in scoring position. Through seven games on the current homestand, they’re 15-for-71 (.211) in RBI situations.
“It’s not a different mentality with that or anything,” Dozier said. “You just have to bear down more, and hopefully pitchers make mistakes in certain situations. It’s something we’ve definitely got to get better at.”
Santiago, who received only 11 runs of support in his previous eight starts, threw 117 pitches and held the Twins to one earned run over six innings.
Chicago has struggled to score all season but has come on of late. Ramirez has three home runs and 11 RBIs since moving into the No. 3 slot in the batting order eight games ago.
“I still basically do the same thing,” Ramirez said. “If I have a runner in scoring position, I’m doing whatever I can to bring him home. For me, it’s a special place to hit.”
As a team, the White Sox have scored 35 runs in their past seven games and are hitting .307 during that span.
Addison Reed worked around a leadoff walk to Joe Mauer in the ninth to earn his 31st save in 36 chances.
Joining teammates Justin Morneau and Wilkin Ramirez in wearing his socks high, Twins starter Samuel Deduno (7-7) didn’t walk a batter for only the second time this season. But he hit three batters with pitches and balked once on his way to another rough outing.
The right-hander from the Dominican Republic allowed five runs on eight hits over five innings and has lost his past three starts since winning three of four.
“I didn’t go aggressive with my fastball and gave up a couple hits,” Deduno said. “I’m feeling fine, just not locating the fastball.”
Santiago and the White Sox benefited from a little good fortune, too.
After Dozier and Mauer singled to start the Minnesota first, Josh Willingham hit a shot that landed in the second tier of the roof deck — just a few feet on the foul side of the pole in left field.
Willingham eventually struck out.
With the Twins down 3-2 in the third, Willingham tried to score on a wild pitch, but the ball ricocheted off the limestone wall behind home plate right back to catcher Josh Phegley, who flipped it to Santiago in time to tag out a sliding Willingham at the plate.
That’s how things have been going for the new-look White Sox lately. Eight of the 25 players on the roster were not on the opening-day squad.
“It does feel different. They’re kind of running with it,” Ventura said.