Chicago at Minnesota

Scoreboard
Chi. White Sox (59-46)1200100015100
Minnesota (59-47) «00005010x690

Morneau's big hit helps Twins trim ChiSox lead to 1/2 game

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Morneau was already considered one of the Twins' best hitters, now he just wants to be known as a guy who can deliver the big hit.

Morneau's bases-clearing double capped a five-run fifth inning and helped the Twins rally from four runs down to beat the Chicago White Sox 6-5 Tuesday night.

"I enjoy being up there in that situation," Morneau said. "To be in that spot, the more I get up there, the more comfortable I feel."

The Twins moved within a half-game of Chicago, which has been atop the AL Central since May 17. Minnesota can jump into first place for the first time since May 14 with a win in the third game of this four-game series Wednesday night.

With the Twins closing in, the White Sox remain focused.

"We'll let you do that, talk about who's two back and who's up on who, because with this many games left you just have to go out there and try to win every game," Chicago catcher Toby Hall said.

Given a 4-0 lead, Clayton Richard (0-1) was cruising in his second major league start until the fifth.

After Carlos Gomez drove in Minnesota's first run with an RBI single, Joe Mauer lined a shot off Richard's left leg. The ball bounced into foul territory and Brendan Harris scored from third, leaving the bases loaded for Morneau's three-run double.

Mauer singled home Gomez in the seventh for a key insurance run.

"We blooped a couple here and there and then got that big one to clear the bases," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

One night after being shut out, Chicago appeared to be back on track early. Two runs scored on Josh Fields' double in the second and Brian Anderson's solo home run made it 4-0 in the fifth.

After Minnesota took the lead in the fifth, starter Glen Perkins (8-3) held Chicago scoreless in the sixth and four Minnesota relievers preserved the win.

"That's a typical Minnesota Twins baseball game," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Twenty-five bloopers and a big blast. That's the way they play."

Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 29th save in 31 chances, but gave up a two-out solo homer to Nick Swisher, who broke his bat but managed to drive the ball over the right-field fence.

"I felt as soon as I made contact, 'Man that felt good coming off,' and next thing you know I have an eighth of a bat in my hand," Swisher said.

Richard, a former backup quarterback at Michigan, is replacing the injured Jose Contreras in the White Sox rotation. The 24-year-old lefty has showed flashes of brilliance in his two major league starts, but hasn't made anyone forget Contreras.

"I liked what I saw. He's going to be back out there next outing," Guillen said. "He's got a lot of guts. He goes after people."

Contreras could be back by early August to help a pitching staff that has posted a 6.32 ERA in its last 13 games.

Perkins was far from dominant, but pitched well enough to improve to 6-1 in his last 11 starts. He allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings.

Perkins said the key to the Twins' recent success has been their ability to hang around games long enough to allow guys to deliver key base hits.

"That's what we do," Perkins said. "We stay close enough within striking distance, get some key hits, take the lead and then turn it over to our bullpen."

However, the news wasn't all good for the Twins. Second baseman Alexi Casilla will land on the disabled list with a tear in his right thumb ligament. Casilla will see a doctor on Wednesday to determine the extent of the injury and how long he will be out.

Adam Everett will be activated from the disabled list to replace Casilla. Everett's 20-day rehab assignment from a shoulder injury ended Tuesday, and the Twins originally asked the veteran shortstop if he would accept a demotion to Triple-A Rochester. With Casilla now out indefinitely, Everett will be kept on the big league club.

Notes

  • Guillen said he doesn't expect the team to make any trades before the deadline. He said getting players like Contreras, Joe Crede and Scott Linebrink off the DL will seem like a trade.
  • Everett is hitting .189 in 25 games for the Twins this season.
  • Guillen said he needs to talk to the slumping Paul Konerko before deciding to bench him. "My question is, if I bench Paulie, who will play first?" Guillen asked. One option is moving Swisher to first, but Guillen did not sound confident in anyone being able to replace Swisher in CF.
  • The Twins are hitting .348 with the bases loaded this season, the best in baseball.
 
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's bases-clearing double in the fifth inning turns a two-run deficit into a one-run lead.  (AP)
Justin Morneau's bases-clearing double in the fifth inning turns a two-run deficit into a one-run lead. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

C. Gomez
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Minnesota

G. Perkins
IP 6.0
H 7
ER 4
BB 2
K 4
 

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Chicago White Sox
Orlando Cabrera, SS5120003 .266
Brian Anderson, CF3111001 .230
   a- Nick Swisher, PH-CF2111001 .228
Carlos Quentin, LF5011000 .275
Jermaine Dye, RF4000012 .311
Jim Thome, DH3100121 .252
Paul Konerko, 1B4010001 .213
Alexei Ramirez, 2B4120011 .312
Josh Fields, 3B3012122 .231
Toby Hall, C3010002 .280
   b- A.J. Pierzynski, PH1000000 .289
Totals37510526  
a-flied out for Anderson in the 7th
b-flied out for Hall in the 9th
Batting
2B - Carlos Quentin (18, Perkins), Alexei Ramirez (16, Perkins), Josh Fields (1, Perkins)
HR - Brian Anderson (6, Perkins), Nick Swisher (15, Nathan)
RBI - Brian Anderson (18), Nick Swisher (50), Carlos Quentin (79), Josh Fields 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Nick Swisher (19)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Ramirez-Cabrera-Konerko
Chicago White Sox
Clayton Richard (L,0-1) 4.2755230 9.35
D.J. Carrasco 1.1111010 2.77
Matt Thornton 1100000 2.38
Octavio Dotel 1000010 2.85
Pitches-Strikes - Clayton Richard 73-49, D.J. Carrasco 22-16, Matt Thornton 13-9, Octavio Dotel 17-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clayton Richard 8-2, D.J. Carrasco 2-1, Matt Thornton 2-1, Octavio Dotel 2-0
Batters Faced - Clayton Richard 22, D.J. Carrasco 5, Matt Thornton 4, Octavio Dotel 3
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, RF2100101 .313
Nick Punto, 2B4020004 .295
Joe Mauer, C4122012 .318
Justin Morneau, 1B4013002 .320
Delmon Young, LF4000022 .291
Mike Redmond, DH4110010 .282
Brendan Harris, SS3100100 .257
Brian Buscher, 3B3000010 .324
Carlos Gomez, CF3231000 .256
Totals3169625  
Batting
2B - Justin Morneau (26, Richard)
SH - Denard Span (3)
RBI - Joe Mauer 2 (48), Justin Morneau 3 (82), Carlos Gomez (34)
2-OUT RBI - Joe Mauer 2 (28), Justin Morneau 3 (33)
SB - Nick Punto (5, 2nd base off Richard/Hall)
Team LOB - 4
Minnesota Twins
Glen Perkins (W,8-3) 6744241 4.20
Jesse Crain (H,12) 1100000 3.43
Dennys Reyes (H,12) 0.1000000 2.93
Matt Guerrier (H,13) 0.2100020 3.23
Joe Nathan (S,29) 1111001 1.24
Pitches-Strikes - Glen Perkins 98-66, Jesse Crain 23-17, Dennys Reyes 1-1, Matt Guerrier 12-8, Joe Nathan 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Glen Perkins 5-9, Jesse Crain 2-1, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Joe Nathan 1-2
Batters Faced - Glen Perkins 27, Jesse Crain 4, Dennys Reyes 1, Matt Guerrier 3, Joe Nathan 4
Game Information
Attendance - 35999
Game Time - 2:50
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Kerwin Danley