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Twins bounce back from sweep, down White Sox

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)

Joe Mauer's two-out single snapped a seventh-inning tie, and Nick Blackburn and the Minnesota Twins hung on for a 6-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night. Blackburn (8-4) went seven innings, but wasn't at his best. Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan were, with a perfect eighth and ninth to preserve an important win for Minnesota and notch Nathan's 23rd save. The Twins took a 4-0 lead against Chicago starter John Danks in the first inning, but let the White Sox come back to tie it as former Minnesota catcher A.J. Pierzynski had three hits. After being swept during the week by the New York Yankees, third-place Minnesota stayed four games behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central race. The White Sox are 3 1/2 games back. This was not close to the duel Blackburn and Danks produced on that crisp night in Chicago last September when the White Sox topped the Twins 1-0 to win the AL Central tiebreaker game and move on to the playoffs. After giving up only 22 hits and six runs over 35 2-3 innings in his previous five starts, Danks walked the first four batters he faced before a two-run double by Jason Kubel and an RBI single by Michael Cuddyer stretched the lead to 4-0. Cuddyer was too casual with his lead at first base, though, and he gave Danks his first out by getting picked off. The lefty quickly ended the inning and allowed just two hits and a walk during the rest of his outing. Manager Ozzie Guillen pulled Danks with two outs in the sixth, sending right-hander Octavio Dotel to strike out Delmon Young and strand Kubel on first. The pickoff of Cuddyer seemed harmless, but it happened so suddenly the momentum shift was almost inevitable. Sure enough, while the Twins stopped hitting, the White Sox chipped away, with Pierzynski in the middle of nearly every rally with a single and a pair of doubles. The second one put runners at second and third with no outs in the sixth, but Blackburn used stellar defense to escape without falling behind. Chris Getz, who had two RBIs, tied the game on a sacrifice fly when Cuddyer made a highlight-reel leaping catch at the wall in right field. Then Joe Crede and Nick Punto made slick stops of sharp grounders to make the next two outs. Mauer visited Blackburn on the mound twice during the third inning, a sign he wasn't sharp. The right-hander gave up more than three earned runs for the first time in 10 starts. Dotel (1-3) walked Nick Punto to start the seventh, and Mauer drove him in with a two-out single up the middle. Then in the eighth against Bobby Jenks, a two-out bunt single by Carlos Gomez scored Matt Tolbert, who had stolen third base to get in position. NOTES: Guillen said struggling LH Clayton Richard will remain in the rotation after the All-Star break, because there aren't any alternatives for now. The White Sox are waiting for Bartolo Colon to complete his rehab assignment, and Freddy Garcia is also working his way back in the minors. ... Twins LH Glen Perkins is finally feeling better and will start on Saturday, three days after he fell ill. Perkins is also slated to take the mound next Friday in Texas, when the rotation is reset to start the second half.
Tagged: White Sox, Twins

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