CHICAGO (AP) — Even when they give up five runs in the first inning, the Minnesota Twins find a way to beat the Chicago White Sox.
They continued to dominate their AL Central foe Friday night, rallying for an 8-5 victory as Luke Hughes hit a three-run homer to cap a six-run fourth inning.
The Twins are 6-0 against the White Sox this season, have won nine straight in the series going back to last year and are 28-6 in the past 34 games between the two AL Central foes.
“It was a pretty fun game for us to come back, being down there,” Hughes said. “It’s a good feeling to hit one over the fence and put your team up a couple of runs and get a bit of breathing room.”
The White Sox scored five runs in the first, but starter Gavin Floyd couldn’t hold the 5-1 lead and was driven out after 3 2-3 innings when Rene Tosoni hit a bases-loaded single to tie it.
Hughes greeted reliever Will Ohman with a long three-run homer to left, his third homer of the season, to put the Twins up 8-5. After starter Nick Blackburn gave up five in the first, he and four relievers shut out the White Sox the rest of the way.
The Twins, with five key players on the disabled list, are counting on players such as Tosoni and Hughes.
“You’re asking these young guys to be a part of it and you give them a chance to play — they’re all just joining in,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.
“They’re pretty excited on the bench, they’re rooting for each other. They’re playing good baseball and it’s fun coming to the ballpark. It’s a learning experience for them. This is good stuff. Kids are growing up here in a race we’re trying to get back into. A lot of good things are happening.”
Floyd (6-9), winless in six starts since June 1, gave up nine hits and was charged with seven runs.
“I felt good from the beginning. As the game went on, I lost command of my fastball and my other pitches, if I missed, I missed pretty bad,” Floyd said.
“Just chalk it up as a bad loss or a bad start, keep working hard and the next start.”
Blackburn (7-6) survived the five-run outburst. He gave up 10 hits, including Adam Dunn’s two-run homer in the first.
Blackburn had also struggled mightily in his previous two starts, allowing 19 hits and 13 earned runs over 8 1-3 innings, but on Friday night Minnesota’s offense helped him overcome the rough start.
Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 20 chances.
Dunn, in a 4-for-52 tailspin with 29 strikeouts over his previous 15 games, drove a 3-2 pitch from Blackburn 412 feet into the right field bleachers to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead. Alexei Ramirez had singled with one out and scored on Paul Konerko’s double.
After Dunn’s blast, his ninth homer of the season, Carlos Quentin and Alex Rios followed with back-to-back doubles to push the lead to three runs. Gordon Beckham’s RBI single completed the early outburst.
“You score when you know you’re struggling to score some runs, and you take the lead and all the sudden you lose the lead right away, guys got kind of a little bit down,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said.
“After that we couldn’t do anything else, we couldn’t put a good swing on the ball.”
It didn’t take long for the Twins to get to Floyd.
Joe Mauer, back behind the plate after playing first base for the first time in the majors Thursday night, doubled off the right-center field fence with two outs in the first and scored on Michael Cuddyer’s RBI single.
Minnesota loaded the bases in the third as Floyd hit Cuddyer with a pitch following a bunt single by Alexi Casilla and opposite-field single by Mauer. Danny Valencia hit a sacrifice fly, and one out later, Hughes walked to reload the bases. White Sox third baseman Brent Morel then made a nice play on a hard shot off the bat of Tsuyoshi Nishioka and threw him out to end the inning.
Floyd hit Mauer to load the bases again in the fourth after singles by Matt Tolbert and Casilla. Cuddyer then delivered another RBI single, and one out later, Tosoni lined his two-run single to right to tie the game.
“Me and Rene are boys. I come up behind him to hit, so we pull for each other,” Hughes said. “That was probably the key hit in the game right there. If Floyd gets out of it, it might be a different game. He came up and had a good at-bat and drove the ball.”
Notes: Cuddyer has an eight-game hitting streak. … CF Denard Span (concussion), one of five Twins on the DL, ran the bases Friday and had no problems. The Twins hope to send him on a rehab assignment after the All-Star break. …. Minnesota DH Jim Thome got the night off to rest a sore toe but will be back in the lineup Saturday. .. The White Sox have lost four straight overall and are tied with the Twins in the loss column (47). Floyd is 4-10 in his career against the Twins, including 0-7 in his past seven starts. … Chicago’s five first-inning runs matched the White Sox’s total output against the Twins in their first five games this season.
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