Twins At White Sox: Minnesota Finishes First Half On High Note

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Twins Take Three Of Four From White Sox With 6-3 Victory

On Saturday afternoon, the Minnesota Twins missed an opportunity to tie their franchise record for the most consecutive defeats of the Chicago White Sox by blowing a 3-2 eighth-inning lead and losing 4-3 at U.S. Cellular Field.

On Sunday afternoon, they apparently decided the best thing to do would be to start a new streak. The Twins battered White Sox starter Jake Peavy (4-3, 5.27 ERA) and defeated the White Sox by a final score of 6-3, taking three out of four from Chicago in the last series for both teams before the All-Star break.

Both teams were scoreless going into the top of the fourth, and after two quick outs for the Twins, they got some offense from some unlikely sources to take the lead. Peavy issued consecutive walks to Rene Tosoni and Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and Drew Butera followed that up with a single to center to bring in Tosoni for the first run of the game. Jason Repko then followed with a double to left to score Nishioka and increase the Minnesota lead to 2-0.

Minnesota put up another crooked number in the top of the fifth, when Alexi Casilla led off with a single and Joe Mauer executed a perfect hit-and-run with a single to right, putting runners on first and third with nobody out. Michael Cuddyer then lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Casilla and give the Twins a 3-0 lead. Danny Valencia then singled to center, and advanced to second on the throw. Tosoni then singled to left to score Mauer, making the score 4-0 and putting runners on the corners again. Nishioka then grounded into an unusual double play, as he grounded out to Gordon Beckham at second. . .but White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko threw the ball back down to second, and Rene Tosoni got caught and tagged out. During all of that, however, Valencia came in to score from third, and the score went to 5-0 in favor of Minnesota.

Twins' starter Anthony Swarzak (2-2, 3.38 ERA), getting the start in place of the injured Scott Baker, was cruising until the bottom of the sixth. With two outs and Juan Pierre on second base, Konerko singled to center to score Pierre and break up the shutout, making the score 5-1. Alex Burnett then came in for the bottom of the seventh, and immediately gave up two runs on a walk to Alex Rios, a double to right by A.J. Pierzynski that scored Rios, and a ground rule double to left by Beckham to score Pierzynski and make the score 5-3. Burnett then struck out Mark Teahen, and was lifted for Glen Perkins, who got the final two outs of the inning. Perkins pitched the eighth inning for the Twins as well.

Minnesota got a much-needed insurance run in the top of the ninth, and it once again came with two outs. After two quick outs, reliever Sergio Santos gave up a triple to right to Alexi Casilla. After Joe Mauer was intentionally walked. . .yes, with two outs and a runner on third. . .Santos uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Casilla to score and make it 6-3, Twins. Matt Capps then came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth, allowing one hit and getting a double play to end things for his fifteenth save of the year.

Swarzak got the victory for Minnesota, allowing one run on four hits in six innings of work. Peavy lasted just 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on ten hits.

Every member of the Twins not named Michael Cuddyer will be off until Thursday night, as the Twins head back to Target Field to kick off the second half of the 2011 season against the Kansas City Royals.


White Sox Finally Manage To Defeat Twins, 4-3

The Minnesota Twins will finish the first half of the season as the fourth place team in the American League Central, as the Chicago White Sox prevented a potential sweep by getting a rare win over Minnesota by a score of 4-3 on Saturday afternoon on U.S. Cellular Field.

The victory was the first for the White Sox over the Twins in seven games this season, and the first time they've beaten the Twins since last season.

The White Sox got on the board first in this one, thanks to a solo home run by Alexei Ramirez off of Twins' starter Brian Duensing with one out in the bottom of the first to give the White Sox an early 1-0 lead. The Twins would bounce back in the top of the third with a pair of runs, one coming courtesy of an RBI groundout by Ben Revere, and another on a single by Alexi Casilla in the next at-bat, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead.

Things would remain at that score until the bottom of the sixth, when Paul Konerko's sacrifice fly to center scored Juan Pierre to tie the game at two. The Twins took the lead again in the top of the eighth, when Jason Repko led off the inning with a single, was sacrificed to second by Ben Revere, and took third on a passed ball. Casilla then lifted his own sacrifice fly to center field to plate Repko, and the Twins took the lead back at 3-2.

Glen Perkins relieved Duensing in the bottom of the eighth, and started the inning by hitting Juan Pierre with a pitch. Ramirez then sacrificed Pierre over and, after an intentional walk to Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn fouled out to right, but it was deep enough to allow Pierre to move to third. Joe Nathan then came in to face Carlos Quentin, but Quentin got the better of the match-up, lining a 1-2 pitch to left field to score Pierre and tie the game at three.

After former Twin Jesse Crain retired Minnesota in order in the top of the ninth, Jose Mijares came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth for the Twins, and started the inning by giving up a double to A.J. Pierzynski. He then got Gordon Beckham and Mark Teahen to fly out, and it looked like the game might head to extra frames when he got ahead of Pierre with one ball and two strikes. However, three straight balls meant a walk to Pierre, and Ramirez came through for the White Sox with a single to center that was enough to score Pierzynski and give the White Sox the 4-3 victory.

Neither starter figured in the decision for their teams. Duensing pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings of work, and was in line to get the win until the White Sox scored in the eighth. White Sox starter Mark Buehrle pitched eight innings, allowing three runs on four hits and striking out eight Twins. The victory went to Jesse Crain, who now has a record of 5-2 on the season. Mijares ended up with the loss for Minnesota, and that was (somewhat surprisingly) his first decision of the 2011 season, giving him a record of 0-1.

The Twins will play their last game before the All-Star break on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field against these same White Sox. Scott Baker was scheduled to start, but he will get the day off in order to rest the elbow that he strained in his last start. In his place, the Twins will send right-hander Anthony Swarzak (1-2, 3.71 ERA) to the mound. The White Sox will go with right-hander Jake Peavy (4-2, 4.83 ERA).


Twins Continue Dominance of White Sox With 8-5 Victory

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).


Mauer Starts Game At First Base, Collects Three Hits In Twins' 6-2 Win

After being penciled into the Minnesota Twins' lineup as a catcher 714 times in his Major League Baseball career, Joe Mauer made a start at another position on Thursday night against the Chicago White Sox, as Ron Gardenhire gave him the start at first base.

If present results are an indicator of future performance, one wonders whether or not the Twins could teach Justin Morneau to catch.

Mauer put together his first three-hit game of the year on Thursday night, driving in two runs as the Twins defeated the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field by a score of 6-2. The Twins' poster boy had a pretty decent night in the field as well, including accounting for all three first inning outs on an unassisted double play on a line drive by Omar Vizquel, and a groundout by Adam Dunn.

The Twins got on the board early, as Ben Revere reached on an infield single and stole second base to start the game. After Alexi Casilla's ground out moved Revere to third, Mauer singled to center to bring Revere home and give the Twins a quick 1-0 lead. They picked up a couple more in the second when Danny Valencia led off the inning with a double and scored on a base hit by Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Nishioka then stole second and came in to score on Revere's RBI single to make the score 3-0.

Minnesota did some more damage in the top of the fourth, as Nishioka and Drew Butera collected back-to-back singles with one out. Revere then singled again to bring Nishioka around to score and make the Minnesota lead 4-0. After Casilla struck out, Mauer laced a single to right. Butera came around to score and, thanks to White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko's inability to field the throw from the outfield, Revere came in to score as well to make the score 6-0.

That was more than enough for Carl Pavano (6-6, 4.10 ERA), who pitched seven strong innings for the Twins on the evening. Pavano made one mistake in the bottom of the fifth, as he allowed Mark Teahen to hit a two-run home run to cut the score to 6-2, but neither team scored the rest of the way. Glen Perkins pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with two strikeouts, and Matt Capps threw a perfect ninth to close things out.

For the Sox, former Twin Philip Humber (8-5, 3.10 ERA) took the loss. Humber failed to make it out of the fourth inning, allowing all six runs on eleven hits in just 3.2 innings of work. Hector Santiago and Brian Bruney combined for 5.1 innings of two-hit ball in relief of Humber for the White Sox.

The Minnesota victory was their fifth over the White Sox this season, and their thirteenth in their last fifteen match-ups against Chicago. Because of the Cleveland Indians' 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night, the Twins remain eight games back in the American League Central.

The same two teams will get together again on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time. The Twins will give the ball to Nick Blackburn (6-6, 4.02 ERA), while the White Sox will turn to right-hander Gavin Floyd (6-8, 4.17 ERA).

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