CHICAGO (AP) — Nelson Cruz homered for the seventh time in his last five games, and the slugging Minnesota Twins became the fastest team to reach 200 homers in major league history during a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Max Kepler hit a three-run drive in the second inning for the landmark homer in Minnesota’s 103rd game of the season. The previous mark was 122 games by the Texas Rangers in 2005.
The AL Central-leading Twins hit five homers in the series opener to become the first team in major league history with nine five-homer games in a season.
Cruz finished with three hits and two RBIs, including a solo drive in the seventh for his 26th homer. He went deep three times Thursday night.
Minnesota right-hander Michael Pineda (7-5) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. He has a 2.87 ERA in his last eight starts. Adam Engel homered for the slumping White Sox, who have dropped four straight and 12 of 15.
Chicago starter Dylan Cease (1-3) permitted five runs and seven hits in five innings in his third straight loss since winning his major league debut July 3. He struck out four and walked three.
Cease, the team’s top pitching prospect, yielded each of his runs in the second inning. In his previous outing Sunday at Tampa Bay, he gave up all four of his runs in the second as well.
With one out in the second on Friday, Luis Arraez and Marwin Gonzalez singled and Jason Castro walked to load the bases. Byron Buxton drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to shallow left.
Kepler followed with his 27th homer, a long drive to right on a 3-2 breaking ball. Jorge Polanco then doubled and scored on Cruz’s base hit.
Engel connected for a two-run shot in the third, but Cruz’s 432-foot drive to left-center off Ross Detwiler made it 6-2.
White Sox: OF Eloy Jiménez (right ulnar nerve contusion) went through a full workout, including batting practice — in the cage and on the field — and throwing to bases from the outfield. If he comes through the workout with no issues, he could be activated from the 10-day injured list early next week. “I’ll talk to the trainers at the end of the day to see if he’s felt any residual effects,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We’ll have a better idea tomorrow.”
White Sox right-hander Iván Nova (5-9, 5.49 ERA) faces Twins left-hander Martín Pérez (8-3, 4.37 ERA) on Saturday night in the third of four in the series. Nova is coming off a complete-game victory against Miami. Pérez allowed five runs in four innings for a no-decision Monday against the New York Yankees.
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