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Chicago at Minnesota

Scoreboard
Chi. White Sox (24-23)100000100270
Minnesota (26-25) «01413000x9161

Morneau's big night at plate helps Twins to third straight win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins appear to be regaining the form that carried them to the AL Central title last season. And they're doing it against one of their biggest rivals.

Justin Morneau homered and drove in four runs and the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 9-2 Tuesday night for their third straight win.

Morneau went 3-for-4 and Jason Kubel added a two-run homer to complement another strong start from Boof Bonser. Michael Cuddyer and Luis Castillo each had three hits.

"We're starting to turn it around," Torii Hunter said. "All cylinders are clicking. Man, that'd be big if we can sweep tomorrow. You're talking about the Chicago White Sox."

Chicago's struggling pitching staff has allowed 47 hits over the last three games. White Sox pitchers allowed a season-worst 16 hits for the second consecutive game, and walked seven.

"Pitching will dictate the game and the last two games the starters and relievers have done a real poor job," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Since we've been here, we've played real poorly. They've done the opposite. They've outplayed us right now."

Minnesota (26-25) has won six of seven to move over .500 for the first time since May 9. It has won four straight series.

Morneau's towering home run in the third clanked off the scoreboard in right field and gave Minnesota a 3-1 lead. Kubel hit a two-run drive to right-center later in the inning.

Morneau barely missed another homer in the fourth when his long fly ball hit high off the wall in right. He added a two-run double in the fifth, prompting the Metrodome crowd to begin a chant of "MVP! MVP!"

"It's almost like he's expected to hit a home run every time now," Cuddyer said of the reigning AL MVP.

Perhaps just as promising as the Twins' rediscovered offense is the emergence of Bonser as a legitimate No. 2 starter behind ace Johan Santana. Bonser (4-1) didn't win his first game until his eighth start this season, but has since rattled off four in a row.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder entered the game third in the AL in strikeouts per nine innings and fanned six in 6 2/3 innings against Chicago, lowering his ERA to 3.61.

He left to a standing ovation in the sixth after loading the bases and walking in a run.

"The record part of it is overrated," said Twins catcher Mike Redmond, who left in the eighth inning after being hit by a pitch in the left elbow. He should be OK. "To me, he's been pretty consistent all year. It's nice to score some runs for him. He deserves it."

John Danks (3-5) lasted just 3 1-3 innings for the White Sox, allowing six runs and nine hits. Danks was 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in his three previous starts. He earned his first major league win over the Twins on May 9, giving up one run and three hits in 6 2-3 innings.

"I don't know what happened. That's the only way to describe it," Danks said. "I just stunk. Whenever I would get ahead in the count, I wasn't able to throw the pitch I wanted to."

Castillo has hit safely in 18 of his last 20 games and tallied his 1,500th career hit with a single in the sixth inning.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced after the game that the team will call up prospect Kevin Slowey to start Friday's game against Oakland. Slowey is 6-2 with a 1.54 ERA for Triple-A Rochester. An official roster move will be made after Wednesday's game.

Slowey replaces Ramon Ortiz, who was demoted to the bullpen after his last start and pitched a perfect ninth inning in his first relief appearance Tuesday.

Notes

  • Chicago's Darin Erstad extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single to lead off the game.
  • Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of Castillo's last error. Castillo's major league record of errorless games at second base now stands at 138.
  • The Twins were retired in order for the first time the entire series in the seventh inning.
  • Chicago slugger Jermaine Dye had his 14-game hitting streak snapped.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Justin Morneau records three hits for the Twins, including a homer, along with four RBI.  (AP)
Justin Morneau records three hits for the Twins, including a homer, along with four RBI. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Morneau
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 4
Minnesota

B. Bonser
IP 6.2
H 7
ER 1
BB 3
K 6
 
Chicago White Sox
Darin Erstad, CF3110000 .276
    Andy Gonzalez, 3B2000000 .000
Alex Cintron, 2B5020011 .204
Jim Thome, DH3010124 .311
Jermaine Dye, RF2001211 .237
Paul Konerko, 1B3011003 .227
A.J. Pierzynski, C4010003 .255
Joe Crede, 3B3000002 .224
    Luis Terrero, CF1000000 .273
Rob Mackowiak, LF4000011 .225
Juan Uribe, SS4110010 .207
Totals3427236  
Batting
2B - Paul Konerko (9, Bonser)
SF - Paul Konerko (3)
RBI - Jermaine Dye (27), Paul Konerko (26)
2-OUT RBI - Jermaine Dye (16)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Cintron-Uribe-Konerko
Chicago White Sox
John Danks (L,3-5) 3.1966402 4.59
Nick Masset 2633210 6.29
Boone Logan 1.2000000 3.60
Dewon Day 1100100 9.00
IBB - Hunter by John Danks, Hunter by Nick Masset
HBP - Redmond (by Dewon Day)
WP - Nick Masset (1)
Pitches-Strikes - John Danks 83-44, Nick Masset 52-29, Boone Logan 14-8, Dewon Day 15-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Danks 3-7, Nick Masset 2-3, Boone Logan 2-2, Dewon Day 2-1
Batters Faced - John Danks 23, Nick Masset 14, Boone Logan 4, Dewon Day 6
Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B5131101 .335
Nick Punto, 3B6110006 .240
Michael Cuddyer, RF4330100 .298
Justin Morneau, 1B4134100 .293
Torii Hunter, CF2000202 .314
   a- Lew Ford, PH-CF1000000 .184
Mike Redmond, C3011000 .320
    Chris Heintz, PR-C0000000 .200
Jeff Cirillo, DH5120005 .224
Jason Kubel, LF4212112 .243
Jason Bartlett, SS4020100 .246
Totals38916871  
a-flied out for Hunter in the 7th
Batting
2B - Michael Cuddyer (10, Danks), Justin Morneau 2 (11, Danks, Masset), Jeff Cirillo (3, Danks)
HR - Justin Morneau (16, Danks), Jason Kubel (2, Danks)
SF - Mike Redmond (1)
RBI - Luis Castillo (8), Justin Morneau 4 (43), Mike Redmond (16), Jason Kubel 2 (17)
2-OUT RBI - Luis Castillo (5), Justin Morneau 2 (15), Jason Kubel 2 (7)
SB - Luis Castillo (3, 3rd base off Masset/Pierzynski), Nick Punto (9, 2nd base off Masset/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 14
Fielding
E - Jason Bartlett (9, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
Boof Bonser (W,4-1) 6.2721360 3.61
Pat Neshek 0.1000000 1.46
Carmen Cali 1000000 0.00
Ramon Ortiz 1000000 5.65
Pitches-Strikes - Boof Bonser 109-69, Pat Neshek 1-1, Carmen Cali 8-6, Ramon Ortiz 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Boof Bonser 7-8, Pat Neshek 1-0, Carmen Cali 2-1, Ramon Ortiz 2-1
Batters Faced - Boof Bonser 31, Pat Neshek 1, Carmen Cali 3, Ramon Ortiz 3
Game Information
Attendance - 23771
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Tony Randazzo, First Base - Charlie Reliford, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Larry Vanover