Twins 8, White Sox 5

Even when they give up five runs in the first inning, the

Minnesota Twins find a way to beat the Chicago White Sox.

They continued to dominate their AL Central foe Friday night,

rallying for an 8-5 victory as Luke Hughes hit a three-run homer to

cap a six-run fourth inning.

The Twins are 6-0 against the White Sox this season, have won

nine straight in the series going back to last year and are 28-6 in

the past 34 games between the two AL Central foes.

”It was a pretty fun game for us to come back, being down

there,” Hughes said. ”It’s a good feeling to hit one over the

fence and put your team up a couple of runs and get a bit of

breathing room.”

The White Sox scored five runs in the first, but starter Gavin

Floyd couldn’t hold the 5-1 lead and was driven out after 3 2-3

innings when Rene Tosoni hit a bases-loaded single to tie it.

Hughes greeted reliever Will Ohman with a long three-run homer

to left, his third homer of the season, to put the Twins up 8-5.

After starter Nick Blackburn gave up five in the first, he and four

relievers shut out the White Sox the rest of the way.

The Twins, with five key players on the disabled list, are

counting on players such as Tosoni and Hughes.

”You’re asking these young guys to be a part of it and you give

them a chance to play – they’re all just joining in,” manager Ron

Gardenhire said.

”They’re pretty excited on the bench, they’re rooting for each

other. They’re playing good baseball and it’s fun coming to the

ballpark. It’s a learning experience for them. This is good stuff.

Kids are growing up here in a race we’re trying to get back into. A

lot of good things are happening.”

Floyd (6-9), winless in six starts since June 1, gave up nine

hits and was charged with seven runs.

”I felt good from the beginning. As the game went on, I lost

command of my fastball and my other pitches, if I missed, I missed

pretty bad,” Floyd said.

”Just chalk it up as a bad loss or a bad start, keep working

hard and the next start.”

Blackburn (7-6) survived the five-run outburst. He gave up 10

hits, including Adam Dunn’s two-run homer in the first.

Blackburn had also struggled mightily in his previous two

starts, allowing 19 hits and 13 earned runs over 8 1-3 innings, but

on Friday night Minnesota’s offense helped him overcome the rough

start.

Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 20

chances.

Dunn, in a 4-for-52 tailspin with 29 strikeouts over his

previous 15 games, drove a 3-2 pitch from Blackburn 412 feet into

the right field bleachers to give the White Sox a 3-1 lead. Alexei

Ramirez had singled with one out and scored on Paul Konerko’s

double.

After Dunn’s blast, his ninth homer of the season, Carlos

Quentin and Alex Rios followed with back-to-back doubles to push

the lead to three runs. Gordon Beckham’s RBI single completed the

early outburst.

”You score when you know you’re struggling to score some runs,

and you take the lead and all the sudden you lose the lead right

away, guys got kind of a little bit down,” Chicago manager Ozzie

Guillen said.

”After that we couldn’t do anything else, we couldn’t put a

good swing on the ball.”

It didn’t take long for the Twins to get to Floyd.

Joe Mauer, back behind the plate after playing first base for

the first time in the majors Thursday night, doubled off the

right-center field fence with two outs in the first and scored on

Michael Cuddyer’s RBI single.

Minnesota loaded the bases in the third as Floyd hit Cuddyer

with a pitch following a bunt single by Alexi Casilla and

opposite-field single by Mauer. Danny Valencia hit a sacrifice fly,

and one out later, Hughes walked to reload the bases. White Sox

third baseman Brent Morel then made a nice play on a hard shot off

the bat of Tsuyoshi Nishioka and threw him out to end the

inning.

Floyd hit Mauer to load the bases again in the fourth after

singles by Matt Tolbert and Casilla. Cuddyer then delivered another

RBI single, and one out later, Tosoni lined his two-run single to

right to tie the game.

”Me and Rene are boys. I come up behind him to hit, so we pull

for each other,” Hughes said. ”That was probably the key hit in

the game right there. If Floyd gets out of it, it might be a

different game. He came up and had a good at-bat and drove the

ball.”

Notes: Cuddyer has an eight-game hitting streak. … CF Denard

Span (concussion), one of five Twins on the DL, ran the bases

Friday and had no problems. The Twins hope to send him on a rehab

assignment after the All-Star break. …. Minnesota DH Jim Thome

got the night off to rest a sore toe but will be back in the lineup

Saturday. .. The White Sox have lost four straight overall and are

tied with the Twins in the loss column (47). Floyd is 4-10 in his

career against the Twins, including 0-7 in his past seven starts.

… Chicago’s five first-inning runs matched the White Sox’s total

output against the Twins in their first five games this season.