The Minnesota Twins continued their success against the Chicago White Sox in 2011, winning their sixth game in six tries against their rivals from Chicago with an 8-5 victory at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday night. The Twins have won nine straight over the White Sox going back to last season, and are 28-6 against Chicago in their last 34 meetings.
Things certainly didn't look promising for the Twins at the beginning, however. Minnesota did get off to a 1-0 lead after Michael Cuddyer's RBI single in the top of the first, but the White Sox responded in a big way in the bottom half. All nine White Sox hitters came to the plate against Nick Blackburn (7-6, 4.24 ERA), and Chicago put five runs on the board. The highlight for the White Sox was a two-run homer by Adam Dunn, but when the inning was complete, the White Sox had a 5-1 lead and appeared to be on their way to a comfortable victory.
However, the Twins didn't give up against White Sox starter Gavin Floyd (6-9, 4.59 ERA). Floyd, who came into Friday night's game having not won a decision since June first and who had personally lost six straight starts against Minnesota, gave up a run in the top of the third on a Danny Valencia sacrifice fly to make the score 5-2, but the floodgates would open for Minnesota in the top of the fourth.
With one out in the inning and Ben Revere on first base, Alexi Casilla singled to put runners on first and second, and both runners moved up 90 feet after a wile pitch by Floyd. Floyd then hit Joe Mauer with a pitch to load the bases, and All-Star Michael Cuddyer singled to center to score Revere and make the score 5-3 in favor of the White Sox and leaving the bases loaded. After Danny Valencia struck out, French Resistance Fighter Rene Tosoni (™ Twinkie Town) kept the inning alive with a single that scored both Casilla and Mauer to tie the game at five.
That was enough for Floyd to get pulled from the game, and Chicago brought left-hander Will Ohman in to face Luke Hughes. After working a full count, Hughes blasted a huge home run into the left-center field stands to make the score 8-5 in favor of the Twins.
After that offensive explosion, neither team could generate any more runs the rest of the evening. Following his rough first inning, Blackburn allowed four more hits in four more innings of work. Phil Dumatrait, Alex Burnett, Joe Nathan, and Matt Capps combined for four innings of one-hit baseball, with Capps getting the save after a 1-2-3 ninth. The save was the fourteenth for Capps in twenty chances this season, and his first converted save in his last four chances.
The White Sox and Twins will get together again at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 3:10 PM Central time. The Twins will send left-hander Brian Duensing (6-7, 4.25 ERA) to the mound, while the White Sox will counter with left-hander Mark Buehrle (6-5, 3.66 ERA).