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Minnesota at Chicago

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Minnesota (77-73) «1100120207100
Chi. White Sox (73-78)000000000081

Twins blank White Sox, gain half-game over idle Tigers

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

CHICAGO -- Nick Blackburn is enjoying the Minnesota Twins' late surge and everything that comes with it.

"This is what we all play for. It's a blast," the right-hander said Monday night after pitching seven sharp innings to help Minnesota beat the fading Chicago White Sox 7-0 for its seventh victory in eight games.

With 12 games to go, the Twins moved within 2½ of first-place Detroit in the AL Central.

"Being in a race like this makes it even more exciting," Blackburn said. "There's more pressure, but it makes us enjoy the wins even more."

Blackburn (11-11) allowed eight singles with no walks and six strikeouts to earn his first road win since May 31 against Tampa Bay. He is 4-1 this season against Chicago.

  Playoff Race

He got plenty of offensive support from shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who helped the White Sox win the AL Central last season. Cabrera had a triple, a sacrifice fly and an RBI single. He also reached on an error and scored three times.

Just as important, Cabrera has taken charge of keeping the Twins pumped up.

"He gets everybody else fired up," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He started the game yelling, hooting and hollering before the first pitch."

Cabrera said he just wanted his teammates to know that good things are ahead if they stay emotionally ready.

"I just thought everybody was too quiet in the beginning of the game," he said.

The Twins did get a scare in the sixth inning when center fielder Denard Span had to leave the game after being hit in the helmet by a pitch from reliever Randy Williams. Span was able to get off the ground and leave the field with assistance.

"I have a headache and I'm a little dizzy," Span said after the game. "It was even scarier on the replay. ... I've never been hit in the head before. ... I'll take some Tylenol tonight and see how I am tomorrow."

The White Sox lost for the fifth time in six games. They are seven back of the Tigers and 4½ behind Minnesota.

The offense continues to sputter. Chicago was shut out for the 13th time this season and second time in four games. No wonder the boos started to pour down at U.S. Cellular Field as the game ended.

"I don't blame them," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "Come and see this day in and day out and obviously they're going to act that way. ... They are right. They pay money to watch a better baseball game and right now we're not doing it."

Daniel Hudson (0-1) took the loss in his first major league start. He allowed four hits and three runs in five innings, but only one run was earned.

Hudson gave up a first-inning triple to Cabrera, who scored on A.J. Pierzynski's two-out passed ball.

Starting because Gavin Floyd has a sore hip, Hudson walked Span with the bases loaded in the second -- the Twins' third walk of the inning -- to make it 2-0.

In the fifth, he fielded Cabrera's leadoff bunt and threw past first for an error, putting Cabrera at second. Michael Cuddyer delivered a two-out RBI single to push the Twins' lead to three.

Nick Punto hit an RBI single off D.J. Carrasco in the sixth after a single by Matt Tolbert and a wild pitch. Williams relieved and his pitch hit Span in the helmet.

Carlos Gomez replaced Span and, after he and Punto pulled off a double steal, Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly that made it 5-0. Cabrera singled in another run in the eighth and Jason Kubel added an RBI double.

"We're trying to finish the season hard. When (Justin) Morneau and (Joe) Crede went down for us, you have to step up," Cabrera said.

Notes

  • Chicago RF Jermaine Dye, MVP of the 2005 World Series, went 0 for 3 and is 33 for 196 (.168) in the second half of the season. He heard some boos after hitting a comebacker in the sixth inning with a runner at third.
  • Punto had two singles, two walks and two stolen bases.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Ron Gardenhire and Orlando Cabrera celebrate another victory as the Twins make a run for the pennant.  (AP)
Ron Gardenhire and Orlando Cabrera celebrate another victory as the Twins make a run for the pennant. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

O. Cabrera
AB 4
R 3
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Minnesota

N. Blackburn
IP 7.0
H 8
ER 0
BB 0
K 6
 

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Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF2001102 .305
    Carlos Gomez, PR-CF1000001 .234
Orlando Cabrera, SS4322003 .271
Joe Mauer, C4010102 .373
Jason Kubel, RF5011033 .300
Michael Cuddyer, 1B5011002 .271
Delmon Young, LF4100121 .265
Jose Morales, DH5010001 .358
Matt Tolbert, 3B5120011 .221
Nick Punto, 2B2221200 .232
    Alexi Casilla, 2B0000000 .196
Totals37710656  
Batting
2B - Jason Kubel (32, Pena)
3B - Orlando Cabrera (3, Hudson)
SF - Orlando Cabrera (10)
RBI - Denard Span (60), Orlando Cabrera 2 (63), Jason Kubel (88), Michael Cuddyer (84), Nick Punto (34)
2-OUT RBI - Denard Span (20), Orlando Cabrera (30), Jason Kubel (33), Michael Cuddyer (23)
SB - Carlos Gomez (12, 2nd base off Williams/Pierzynski), Nick Punto 2 (14, 3rd base off Williams/Pierzynski, 2nd base off Pena/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Cabrera-Punto-Cuddyer
PB - Joe Mauer (8)
Minnesota Twins
Nick Blackburn (W,11-11) 7800060 4.18
Matt Guerrier 1000000 2.18
Bobby Keppel 1000000 4.86
Pitches-Strikes - Nick Blackburn 101-72, Matt Guerrier 9-8, Bobby Keppel 8-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nick Blackburn 9-5, Matt Guerrier 1-2, Bobby Keppel 1-2
Batters Faced - Nick Blackburn 28, Matt Guerrier 3, Bobby Keppel 3
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, CF4010011 .304
Gordon Beckham, 3B4010011 .266
A.J. Pierzynski, C4010001 .309
Paul Konerko, DH4000011 .281
Mark Kotsay, 1B4020001 .286
Jermaine Dye, RF3000023 .248
   a- Dewayne Wise, PH1000000 .205
Carlos Quentin, LF4010001 .232
Chris Getz, 2B3010012 .269
Alexei Ramirez, SS3010001 .279
Totals3408006  
a-flied out for Dye in the 9th
Fielding
PB - A.J. Pierzynski (7)
E - Daniel Hudson (1, Throwing)
Chicago White Sox
Daniel Hudson (L,0-1) 5431440 3.38
D.J. Carrasco 0.1222000 3.76
Randy Williams 0.2000110 5.40
Tony Pena 2422010 4.38
Carlos Torres 1000000 6.00
IBB - Mauer by Randy Williams
HBP - Span (by Randy Williams)
WP - D.J. Carrasco (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Daniel Hudson 98-64, D.J. Carrasco 14-10, Randy Williams 16-6, Tony Pena 35-24, Carlos Torres 8-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daniel Hudson 6-6, Tony Pena 3-2, Carlos Torres 2-1
Batters Faced - Daniel Hudson 24, D.J. Carrasco 3, Randy Williams 4, Tony Pena 10, Carlos Torres 3
Game Information
Attendance - 26541
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Jim Reynolds, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Tim Welke