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White Sox regroup to beat slumping Twins

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CHICAGO (AP)

As the weather heats up in Chicago, Jermaine Dye and his fellow White Sox star to see a rise in their batting averages. Coming off a 1-6 road trip and scoring an AL-low 3.9 runs per game this season, the White Sox were greeted at U.S. Cellular Field by 80-degree temperatures, clear skies and friendly breezes. The result: two high-scoring victories over the slumping Minnesota Twins, including Wednesday night's 7-4 decision. "When it gets warm here, this ballpark turns into a smaller park than it is," said Dye, whose grand slam capped a seven-run fourth inning and helped the White Sox win back-to-back games for the first time in three weeks. "It lets you go up there and feel comfortable, and guys are starting to get in the swing of things," said Dye, who also homered in the series opener. "So far, so good. We knew this was a big homestand for us." Wednesday's grand slam was the eighth of Dye's career. Since joining the White Sox before the 2005 season, he leads all AL outfielders with 147 homers. "Third time facing a guy, you have a feeling that if he swings at a strike it's going to be hit hard," said Paul Konerko, whose two-run homer started the White Sox fourth-inning barrage. "We've seen it so many times before." So have the Twins. They have lost 10 of 11 in Chicago, getting outscored 79-36, and have allowed at least one homer in each of their last 20 games at U.S. Cellular Field. Then again, winning anywhere has been a challenge for the Twins lately. They have a season-high six-game losing streak - all on their current road trip, which ends Thursday in Chicago. "When you're winning it seems like everything goes right, and it's the exact opposite ... when you're losing," Michael Cuddyer said. "There's only one way to reverse that, and it's to continue fighting, continue busting it and hopefully things change." Getting a few timely hits and making some big pitches would help. The Twins are batting .118 with runners in scoring position during the road trip and haven't gotten a victory from a starting pitcher in eight games. "When you keep missing opportunities and your starters don't get through five innings, you're not going to win games," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "(Twins starter Francisco Liriano) needs to make one pitch to get out of the inning and he just couldn't do it. Jermaine Dye, it just looked like he threw it right down the middle." Liriano (2-5) gave up seven runs on seven hits and three walks over four innings. White Sox starter John Danks (3-3) allowed five hits and two earned runs over 5 2-3 innings to win for the first time in nearly a month. After Danks surrendered Cuddyer's two-run homer in the sixth, Octavio Dotel, Matt Thornton, Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks combined for 3 1-3 innings of one-hit relief. Jenks pitched the ninth for his ninth save in as many chances. Chicago shortstop Alexei Ramirez's error on a potential double-play grounder helped the Twins take a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Jason Kubel had an RBI single and Joe Crede added a sacrifice fly. The White Sox immediately responded, sending 10 batters to the plate in their half of the inning. In addition to the homers by Dye and Konerko, Josh Fields singled in a run.

Notes

The right-handed Dye, who usually excels against lefties, was batting only .133 vs. them this season until he took Liriano deep. ... Twins LHP Glen Perkins, on the DL since Monday, underwent an MRI that showed inflammation of the ulnar nerve in his pitching elbow. ... Fields is batting .122 in his last 11 games and has struck out 43 times in 133 at-bats this season. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he'll bench the 3B "if he keeps doing what he's doing." ... Twins C Joe Mauer extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... White Sox LF Carlos Quentin, who missed his fifth straight game with a heel injury, hopes to be back Friday against Pittsburgh.
Tagged: White Sox, Twins

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