MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ron Gardenhire has seen center fielders like Kirby Puckett, Torii Hunter and Ben Revere make some spectacular catches during his time coaching and managing the Minnesota Twins.
After Monday night, he’s adding Aaron Hicks to the list.
Hicks hit two home runs and made a leaping catch in center field to take a home run away from Adam Dunn in the Twins’ 10-3 win over the Chicago White Sox.
“We’ve definitely had our share of great ones here and that ranks right up there,” Gardenhire said. “That catch is going to rank right up there, especially the moment he caught the ball. A big moment, a big play.”
Justin Morneau extended his hitting streak to nine games with three hits and four RBIs, including a bases-clearing double that capped the scoring in the eighth.
Hicks, who missed the previous two games due to a sore right elbow, led off the fourth inning with a 416-foot solo homer that bounced in front of the black batter’s eye in center field and gave the Twins a 5-2 lead.
With a runner on third and the Twins holding a 5-3 lead in the sixth, Dunn drove a pitch from reliever Josh Roenicke deep to center that appeared to be headed for the same spot Hicks’ blast landed. However, the Twins’ rookie sprinted back, leaped high, and caught the ball above the wall, falling to the ground and grinning as he opened his glove to show the ball to the umpire.
After getting congratulated by teammates jogging off the field, Hicks hit his second home run in the bottom of the sixth, this one landing in the bullpen in left-center.
“Right after the catch I felt amazing, I felt loose. To hit that one, it just capped it off,” Hicks said.
Aaron Hicks Talks About The Win
Fans at Target Field stood and cheered for a curtain call, and Hicks finally obliged after Pedro Florimon popped out.
“I heard ’em, but it’s my first one so I don’t really know,” said Hicks, whose teammates doused him with Gatorade and shaving cream after the game. “Morneau’s saying, ‘Hey these don’t happen that often.’ Florimon ended up popping out, so I had to kind of wait. Then I went out and got it.”
Dunn and Hicks entered the game tied for the lowest batting average in baseball (.137) among qualifiers. When the night was over, Hicks’ average was .152 and Dunn’s .133.
“Yeah, the kid made a great play,” said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, whose team allowed three unearned runs. “I think that one was one he hit well, but you don’t get anything out of it. But again we are not helping ourselves on the other side.”
Twins starter Pedro Hernandez (2-0) allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. The left-hander, who came to the Twins in a trade with the White Sox for Francisco Liriano, retired 14 of the next 15 batters he faced after giving up two runs in the first inning.
Pedro Hernandez Talks About The Win
Manager Ron Gardenhire’s Post Game
Alex Rios had two RBIs for the White Sox, who are last in the American League in batting average and runs scored. Alejandro De Aza and Alexei Ramirez each had three hits.
Hector Santiago (1-2) allowed six runs — three earned — on eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. He had only allowed one earned run in his previous two starts.
The Twins loaded the bases with nobody out and took advantage of Ramirez’s error at shortstop to score four runs in the third. The inning was capped by Trevor Plouffe’s two-run double.
“Yeah, it seems like every day we have one play that could change the game and it does wind up changing the game,” Santiago said. “I mean that play there, if he makes that play we are out of it and we’re up 2-0. You can keep the pitch count down. It was a big play in the game, and of late it’s been something like that, just one play each and every game.”
The White Sox loaded the bases against Jared Burton in the eighth, but pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie grounded out to first.
NOTES: White Sox LHP Chris Sale, who threw a one-hit shutout in Sunday’s win against Los Angeles, woke up in pain with an abscessed tooth that needed to be pulled. Manager Robin Ventura said that won’t affect Sale’s next start, a rematch on the road against the Angels. … White Sox LHP John Danks gave up three runs in six innings on Sunday in a rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte. Recovering from shoulder surgery last August, Danks will make at least one more start in the minors, Ventura said … Florimon, who missed all three games of the series over the weekend against Baltimore because of a tight right hamstring, returned to the lineup. … Kevin Correia (4-2) face Jake Peavy (4-1) on Tuesday in the second game of this three-game series.
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