Santana strikes out 10, Twins take rubber match against Astros

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.

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.