MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins were waiting for something to go right offensively.
When the Twins finally caught a break, of course it was Danny Valencia coming through.
Valencia’s two-run single snapped Minnesota’s 20-inning scoreless streak and rookie Chris Parmelee added a two-run double to help the Twins avoid a sweep with a 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
Carl Pavano (8-11) pitched 5 1-3 innings, giving up three runs — one earned — and 10 hits as Minnesota snapped a five-game losing streak. Joe Nathan closed the game with his 13th save in 16 chances.
“It was exciting, to say the least,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Some big moments out there, some big pitches. We missed a couple of opportunities here and there, but we needed a win desperately.”
Minnesota had been shutout in back-to-back games and scored just one run in the first three games of the four-game series. Valencia’s bloop single to right field in the third inning finally helped the Twins break through against Chicago.
“He feathered the ball down the right field line,” Gardenhire said. “It’s about time one of those landed for us. That was a good thing. We got something to land for us and in a big situation.”
It had been a while since the Twins had a clutch hit. Prior to Valencia’s RBI single, Minnesota was 0 for 24 hitting with runners in scoring position dating back to Sept. 3 and had scored two runs total in the past 42 innings over that stretch.
But the Twins had Valencia up in the perfect position.
With two runners on, Joe Mauer was hit by a John Danks’ pitch to load the bases for Valencia. Valencia — who had the team’s only hit in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader — is 12 for 22 with 27 RBIs in his career with the bases loaded.
Parmelee, playing in his second career game, followed with a two-run double, over centerfielder Alex Rios’ head for his first RBIs.
“Hitting’s contagious, we thrive off each other,” Parmelee said. “Those two hits got everybody pumped up.”
Danks (6-11) lost his second straight start, allowing five runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out four.
This time, Chicago was the team struggling for the big hit. The White Sox left 13 runners on base, and failed to captalize in the sixth when they had runners at second and third with one out. After Alexei Ramirez grounded out back the pitcher, Paul Konerko was intentionally walked and A.J. Pierzynski hit into fielder’s choice, leaving the bases loaded.
Konerko had three hits and an RBI after getting a rare day off on Tuesday.
Chicago squandered another prime opportunity in the eighth against Minnesota reliever Glen Perkins. Juan Pierre walked to start the inning and Ramirez followed with a double to right. Pierre scored on an RBI groundout by Pierzynski, but the tying run was left at third base when Alex Rios struck out. Rios then snapped his bat over his knee following the strikeout, which continues a disappointing season for the former All-Star outfielder.
“I don’t think we lose,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I think we just gave this game away. We had a lot of chances, we can’t get the hit.
With the Tigers’ 8-6 win against Cleveland on Wednesday, the White Sox are nine games behind Detroit in the American League Central and have just three games remaining with the Tigers.
NOTES: Minnesota 1B Justin Morneau took batting practice before the game and could travel with the team to Detroit on Friday. Morneau isn’t on the disabled list, but will have to get approval from Major League Baseball before returning to play after experienced concussion symptoms. … White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said OF Carlos Quentin could possibly return to action later this week, even though there is no possibility for a rehab stint. Quentin has taken batting practice the past two days as he recovers from a sprained shoulder suffered on Aug. 20. … Injured Minnesota pitchers Francisco Liriano (shoulder), Brian Duensing (oblique) and Scott Baker (elbow) will each throw off a mound on Thursday to determine if they will be able to return this season. Duensing could slot back into the rotation and give Minnesota six starting pitchers, but Liriano and Baker likely won’t start again this season. … Gavin Floyd (12-10, 4.45 ERA) will start Thursday for Chicago, who opens a four-game series against Cleveland. Floyd received a no-decision while allowing four runs in five innings on Sept. 3 against Detroit, but has won his last three decisions. … After an off day, Minnesota will send Kevin Slowey (0-4, 5.31 ERA) to the mound at Detroit. Slowey has given up two runs and pitched seven innings in each of his past two starts. The Twins have scored just one run total in the two games and three runs total in Slowey’s four starts. He is 5-0 with a 4.93 ERA lifetime against the Tigers.
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