White Sox 7, Twins 4
Returning home after a rough road trip following the All-Star break, the Chicago White Sox treated a rare sellout crowd to a sampling of how they need to play over the final two months of the season.
They turned five double plays on defense and an offense that had been struggling showed some power with three homers on a hot Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
''Like I said the offense sputtered for the last probably 10 days. We were able to get Gavin some runs early,'' said Adam Dunn, who hit his majors-leading 29th homer.
''It was a good win. We needed it.''
Chicago lost seven of 10 on that three-city road trip and fell out of first in the AL Central to the surging Detroit Tigers.
But Dunn insists it's way too early to start looking at the scoreboard. Chicago trails the Tigers by a game.
''We've got two months of baseball, real meaningful baseball,'' Dunn said. ''The goal is to get out of this little funk we're in now and when it matters get hot. Who knows what is going to happen?''
Making his first start in 16 days after being sidelined by elbow tendinitis, Floyd (8-8) wasn't sharp but benefited from four of the double plays. He walked six, gave up six hits and three runs - two earned. Addison Reed got his 16th save in 19 chances and got some help when a leaping catch by shortstop Alexei Ramirez saved a run on Joe Mauer's liner.
''I think that's part of what Gavin needs to do. I think all our guys realize we can play defense,'' Chicago manager Robin Ventura said, pointing to the play of Ramirez and second baseman Gordon Beckham.
''Those two in the middle did a great job of getting ground balls and getting Gavin out of some situations,'' Ventura added. ''If they get through or you don't get those double plays, it's a different kind of game.''
Floyd got out of a big jam in the first, allowing only one run after giving up a bunt single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. Josh Willingham then hit into a double play with the run scoring.
Floyd allowed a run to score on a wild pitch in the second and the Twins scored again in the fifth when center fielder Alejando De Aza overthrew second base on a relay when no one was at the bag. He was charged with an error.
Liriano (3-10), who pitched a no-hitter at U.S. Cellular Field on May 3, 2011, lasted only 2 2-3 innings. He gave up seven hits - including the three homers - and a season-high seven runs in losing his third straight. Entering the game, he'd yielded only three homers in his previous 70 2-3 innings and just nine all season.
''I wasn't throwing anything down in the zone. I was missing my spots most of the time. I didn't have anything going for me tonight,'' Liriano said. ''I couldn't locate my pitches. It was one of those nights.''
Konerko's three-run, opposite-field blast followed a single by De Aza and a walk to Kevin Youkilis in the first. It was his first homer since June 29 and 15th of the season.
Dunn, mired in a 2-for-27 skid, hit a two-run shot to center in the third. One batter later, Rios hit a long homer - his 15th of the season - to left to make it 7-2.
NOTES: Twins slugger Justin Morneau was reinstated from a paternity leave after the game and the Twins optioned Chris Parmelee to Triple-A Rochester. Morneau had been with his wife when she gave birth Saturday. ... Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe, who hurt his right thumb Friday, was out of the lineup again. He was examined by a doctor and manager Ron Gardenhire said he has a bruise near a nerve and is on medication. Plouffe will be re-evaluated daily. ... White Sox GM Ken Williams said his team is still in good position despite the tough road trip to begin the second half. ''A lot of people didn't think we would be in this position right now and if we just kind of look at it from that standpoint, we're in a nice spot as we head into August here, whether it's a game and a half up or a game and a half back,'' he said. ''Ultimately you've got to close it out anyway. Is it nice to be in first place and chased? Absolutely. But it's our time to do a little chasing right now.'' ... The announced crowd of 37,788 was Chicago's second sellout of the season. ... Floyd has won four of his last five starts overall. He is now 6-11 in his career against the Twins.