CHICAGO (AP) — Trevor Plouffe hit a pair of solo homers, including a tie-breaking shot in the eighth, to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 6-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Eduardo Escobar added a solo shot in the Twins’ three-run ninth as Minnesota remained one game behind Texas for the second American League wild card.
Ervin Santana came through with his third straight strong start, allowing two runs, on Adam Eaton’s 13th homer in the fifth, through seven innings, while scattering six hits and striking out six. In his last three outings, Santana (5-4) has allowed just three earned runs in 22 innings and struck out 27.
Plouffe’s second homer, came off Nate Jones (1-2), the second Chicago reliever, and gave the Twins infielder his third career multi-homer game.
Santana got help from 40-year-old right fielder Torii Hunter, who threw out two runners in a game for the first time since September 2012. Hunter also had two hits, including an RBI double.
Chicago’s Erik Johnson labored in his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Sept. 1, but allowed just one run on four hits in a no-decision. He won at Kansas City on Sunday, but struggled with control in this one.
The righty walked five, but wriggled out of serious trouble thanks to six strikeouts and some good defense.
Johnson escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first without allowing any runs when Avisail Garcia jumped high against the right-field fence and caught Eddie Rosario’s liner for the third out.
Plouffe lined his first homer to left to lead off the fourth and put Minnesota ahead 1-0. Hunter threw Garcia out at the plate to end the bottom half of the inning when he tried to score from second on Rob Brantly’s single.
Eaton’s two run shot to center with one out in the fifth moved Chicago in front, 2-1, but Hunter’s RBI double in sixth tied it at 2-all.
Eaton had never hit more than three homers in any of his three previous seasons in the majors.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes (back inflammation) may rejoin Minnesota’s rotation next Tuesday against Detroit, manager Paul Molitor said before Friday’s game. Hughes (10-8) threw a 45-pitch simulated game on Wednesday and will toss a bullpen session on Saturday. He hasn’t pitched since a lopsided loss at Cleveland on Aug. 9.
C Kurt Suzuki started after leaving Wednesday’s game at Kansas City in the 10th inning with a bruised knee, suffered when the Royals Jarrod Dyson collided with him at home plate. Suzuki said he has no structural damage and that his “contusion” is being treated with ice and electical stimulation. . The Twins activated right-handed reliever J.R. Graham (shoulder inflammation) from the disabled list prior to Friday night’s game.
White Sox: 1b/DH Adam LaRoche was back in the lineup at first base after missing three game with right knee tendinitis. . Chicago reinstated RHP Zach Putnam (strained right groin) from the 15-day disabled list before Friday’s game. He pitched the ninth on Friday after being out since Aug. 29.
Minnesota left-hander Tommy Milone (8-4, 3.54) faces Chicago lefty Jose Quintana (8-10, 3.60 ERA) on Saturday night in the second game of the series. Milone is 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA in three starts against the White Sox this season.
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