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Minnesota at Chicago

Scoreboard
Minnesota (79-73) «0122003008131
Chi. White Sox (73-80)0001120206113

Duensing wins again, Twins top ChiSox, keep pace with Tigers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- The Minnesota Twins started their 10-game road trip that will determine if they make the playoffs with a sweet sweep.

"This was a huge series for us. It's as close to a must-win situation as you can be in," Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer said after the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 8-6 on Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.

"To be able to come into Chicago and pick up three is all we would have asked for," he added.

Twins-ChiSox links

ChiSox: GM says team underachieved

Playoff Race

The Twins stayed on the heels of first-place Detroit in the AL Central with their ninth victory in the last 10 games. Nick Punto drove in three runs and Brian Duensing won his fifth consecutive decision.

Detroit beat Cleveland 11-3 on Wednesday and leads the Twins by 2½ games. Minnesota is off Thursday before starting a three-game series in Kansas City. The Tigers begin a three-game series Friday against the White Sox, who have lost seven of eight.

The Tigers and Twins begin a four-game series in Detroit on Monday.

"Our goals now [are] to go to Kansas City and win a series there and go to Detroit and see what happens," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

"This is the reason we play baseball. Anytime you play baseball in September, it means something," Punto said. "That's what it's all about. Anytime you sweep a big league team, that's pretty good, let alone on the road."

Jermaine Dye, who entered the game in a 12-for-93 slump, had two homers for Chicago, the first breaking a 58 at-bat homerless streak.

"It took batting stance No. 10 for me to break out of it for a day," Dye said.

Duensing (5-1), who is 5-0 in his last seven starts, entered the game with a 13 1/3-innings scoreless streak spanning his two previous outings. He allowed a run in the fourth on Carlos Quentin's two-out RBI single that cut Minnesota's lead to 5-1.

Duensing wasn't sharp after the early innings. He gave up nine hits and four runs -- three earned -- in 5 2/3 innings. Joe Nathan, the Twins' fourth reliever, pitched a shaky ninth for his 44th save, hitting a batter and walking Paul Konerko before getting Alexei Ramirez on a popup to end it.

Jayson Nix had an RBI single in the fifth, and Dye hit a two-run homer in the sixth, right after an error on Twins' shortstop Orlando Cabrera. That made it 5-4.

Punto hit a two-out, two-run RBI single off Carlos Torres in a three-run seventh that included an error on Chicago shortstop Ramirez and made it 8-4. Dye connected for his 27th of the season in the bottom of the eighth, another two-run shot, this one off Bobby Keppel.

The Twins, who scored 23 runs in the three-game series, knocked out Chicago ace Mark Buehrle (12-10) after 3 1/3 innings. Buehrle, 1-7 in 12 starts since pitching a perfect game on July 23, gave up eight hits and was charged with five runs, four earned.

The White Sox were tied for first after Buehrle's gem and haven't been back. And now they're on the verge of elimination.

"It's always disappointing when you look up and you lose games and you have an under-.500 record and you have no chance of going to the postseason," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "It's very frustrating and it all stinks. ... Just losing gets old after a while. You try to do everything in your power, but it seems like something bad got in this team."

Cabrera, the White Sox's shortstop during a division title-winning season a year ago, continued to hurt his former team. He had two hits and an RBI, giving him five for the series.

Cabrera had an RBI single in the third and raced home on Cuddyer's run-scoring single for a 3-0 lead in the third.

The Twins drove Buehrle out in the fourth when Brendan Harris and Punto had doubles to make it 4-0. Carlos Gomez hit Minnesota's third double of the inning to make it 5-0.

Notes

  • Twins CF Denard Span was out of the lineup a second consecutive game after being hit in the helmet with a pitch Monday night. He could return Friday.
  • It was Minnesota's first three-game sweep at U.S. Cellular Field since 2006.
 
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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It's not pretty -- four runs in 5 2/3 innings -- but Brian Duensing wins his fifth decision in a row.  (US Presswire)
It's not pretty -- four runs in 5 2/3 innings -- but Brian Duensing wins his fifth decision in a row. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Chicago

J. Dye
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 2
RBI 4
Minnesota

N. Punto
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
 
Minnesota Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF4011003 .231
Orlando Cabrera, SS5121002 .272
Joe Mauer, C4010101 .371
Jason Kubel, RF3100204 .300
Michael Cuddyer, 1B5121012 .276
Delmon Young, LF5130003 .273
Brendan Harris, DH3121011 .262
   a- Jose Morales, PH-DH1100100 .354
Matt Tolbert, 3B4000007 .216
Nick Punto, 2B4223122 .232
Totals38813754  
a-was walked intentionally for Harris in the 7th
Batting
2B - Carlos Gomez (15, Torres), Delmon Young (15, Torres), Brendan Harris 2 (21, Buehrle, Buehrle), Nick Punto (14, Buehrle)
SH - Carlos Gomez (6), Matt Tolbert (8)
RBI - Carlos Gomez (28), Orlando Cabrera (66), Michael Cuddyer (86), Brendan Harris (35), Nick Punto 3 (37)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Cuddyer (24), Brendan Harris (14), Nick Punto 2 (15)
SB - Carlos Gomez (13, 3rd base off Torres/Pierzynski), Nick Punto (15, 3rd base off Pena/Pierzynski)
PK - Orlando Cabrera (1, Buehrle)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Tolbert-Punto-Cuddyer, Punto-Cabrera-Cuddyer
E - Orlando Cabrera (22, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
Brian Duensing (W,5-1) 5.2943111 3.33
Bobby Keppel (H,4) 1.2222011 5.06
Jesse Crain (H,5) 0.1000000 4.86
Jose Mijares (H,26) 0.1000000 2.10
Joe Nathan (S,44) 1000110 2.14
HBP - Quentin (by Jesse Crain), Beckham (by Joe Nathan)
WP - Joe Nathan (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Duensing 86-55, Bobby Keppel 33-21, Jesse Crain 4-1, Jose Mijares 6-5, Joe Nathan 21-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Duensing 10-5, Bobby Keppel 1-3, Joe Nathan 1-1
Batters Faced - Brian Duensing 26, Bobby Keppel 7, Jesse Crain 2, Jose Mijares 1, Joe Nathan 5
Chicago White Sox
Jayson Nix, 2B4011001 .237
   a- Scott Podsednik, PH1000000 .303
Gordon Beckham, 3B4000012 .266
A.J. Pierzynski, C5010011 .307
Paul Konerko, 1B4000111 .283
    Dewayne Wise, PR0000000 .205
Alexei Ramirez, SS5330002 .280
Jermaine Dye, RF4234001 .253
Carlos Quentin, LF3011001 .231
Alex Rios, CF3010103 .242
Tyler Flowers, DH3110002 .200
   b- Mark Kotsay, PH-DH1000001 .283
Totals37611623  
a-grounded out for Nix in the 9th
b-popped out for Flowers in the 8th
Batting
2B - Alexei Ramirez (14, Duensing), Tyler Flowers (1, Duensing)
HR - Jermaine Dye 2 (27, Duensing, Keppel)
RBI - Jayson Nix (32), Jermaine Dye 4 (78), Carlos Quentin (46)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Quentin (12)
SB - Alex Rios (21, 2nd base off Keppel/Mauer)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Gordon Beckham (14, Throwing), Alexei Ramirez (19, Missed catch of throw), Matt Thornton (1, Throwing)
Chicago White Sox
Mark Buehrle (L,12-10) 3.1854100 3.95
Carlos Torres 3.1432330 5.91
Tony Pena 1.1000100 4.29
Matt Thornton 1100010 2.65
IBB - Mauer by Carlos Torres, by Morales
HBP - Gomez (by Carlos Torres)
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 57-38, Carlos Torres 67-35, Tony Pena 20-12, Matt Thornton 14-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 7-2, Carlos Torres 4-3, Tony Pena 2-2, Matt Thornton 2-1
Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 18, Carlos Torres 18, Tony Pena 5, Matt Thornton 5
Game Information
Attendance - 26097
Game Time - 3:10
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Bill Welke, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Chad Fairchild