It was a bad way to end the year for the Cape side, but Stars’ resurgence under new coach Miguel Gamondi, which saw them defeat champions Mamelodi Sundowns in midweek, is now in full swing and in many ways this break for the Africa Cup of Nations has come at a bad time for them.
After a poor first 45 minutes, a brace from Edward Williams and a third from George Mofokeng deservedly claimed the points for the home side.
Stars controlled the first half play with 63 percent possession, but they could not manage a single shot on target against a physical and well-organised Santos defence.
Indeed, the only clear chance of the first half came at the other end when Koena Mathopa had a tame header slide just past the post after Stars failed to clear the bouncing ball from a long throw-in.
Gamondi brought on Steve Lekoelea for Michael Khaile at halftime, and it made an immediate difference to the side going forward.
Almost directly from the kick-off, Williams worked a shot from 18-yards that had the beating of Lee Langeveld in the visiting goal.
And Lekoelea had a hand in number two as his cross was headed home by the giant Mofokeng just four minutes later, effectively ending the contest as Santos heads dropped.
Williams, by no means a regular scorer, netted his third in two games when he found the back of the net from 12 yards.
The win moves Stars five points clear of automatic relegation and into 13th, while Santos remain three places higher in 10th.