MLB

Santana strikes out 10, Twins take rubber match against Astros

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana pitches to the Houston Astros in the first inning at Target Field on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015.

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana pitches to the Houston Astros in the first inning at Target Field on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Ervin Santana struck out 10 to earn his first home win, Eduardo Nunez and Miguel Sano homered, and the Minnesota Twins survived a ninth-inning rally to beat the Houston Astros 7-5 on Sunday.

Down 7-0 in the ninth, Chris Carter hit a three-run homer and Jose Altuve cracked a two-run shot that made it 7-5 before Trevor May struck out Marwin Gonzalez to end the game.

It was Santana's 15th career game with double-digit strikeouts. He entered Sunday 0-1 with a 9.77 ERA in three starts at Target Field since returning from an 80-game suspension to start the season.

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Lance McCullers (5-5) settled down after walking three of the first four batters he faced to begin the game before Nunez hit a 3-2 pitch off the upper deck in left-center field to make it 3-0 in the sixth.

After Eduardo Escobar added a RBI double in the seventh and scored on Joe Mauer's single, Sano lined the 13th homer of his rookie season over the left-field wall to make it 7-0.

The affable Santana (3-4), who signed the richest free-agent deal in Twins' history during the offseason, has maintained a positive attitude despite going 0-4 with a 9.20 ERA in his last six starts before bouncing back Sunday.

Santana struck out Colby Rasmus with two runners on to end the sixth and fanned Hank Conger with a runner on to close the seventh.

Altuve finished with four hits.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins manager Paul Molitor said SP Phil Hughes might throw off a mound later this week as he continues to recover from a back injury that landed him on the DL retroactive to Aug. 10.

UP NEXT

After a day off on Monday, the Twins travel to Chicago where rookie Tyler Duffey (2-1, 4.29) will kick off the three-game series against White Sox ace Chris Sale (12-7, 3.20) on Tuesday night.