Sano hits birthday homer, Twins hold off White Sox
CHICAGO — Eduardo Escobar helped power Minnesota to a quick, commanding lead. Then it turned out the Twins needed every run — and some pretty nifty bullpen work.
Escobar hit a three-run homer in the first then added a fourth RBI with a double as Minnesota outlasted the struggling Chicago White Sox 7-6 on Thursday night.
Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano crushed solo shots and Joe Mauer singled in a run for Minnesota, which hung on to deal the White Sox a season-high fifth straight loss after jumping out to a 6-0 advantage in the second inning.
“It was a good win because we had to fight all the way,” said manager Paul Molitor, “and the bullpen did a pretty good job.”
It looked like Minnesota might cruise to a victory in this one with resurgent starter Phil Hughes in charge and dealing early. The right-hander didn’t give up a hit until Avisail Garcia doubled with one out in the fourth when the Twins scored twice.
But Chicago closed to 7-6, led by Melky Cabrera’s three-run homer off Hughes in the fifth. Chicago’s Matt Davidson drove in two runs, on a solo homer and a groundout.
Ryan Pressly (1-2), the third of five Twins relievers, pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the win.
Brandon Kintzler got the final five outs for his eighth save in nine chances. He struck out Omar Narvaez and Leury Garcia in the eighth with the tying run on third and go-ahead run on second.
“That was a big set up inning for us (by Pressly),” Molitor said. “And that’s a big-league save.”
Hughes fell short of a chance to earn his fifth win when he was replaced by Tyler Duffey with two outs in the fifth after allowing five runs and six hits.
“When you’ve got a big lead early and kind of flounder in the middle innings it’s inexcusable,” Hughes said. “You just can’t let the wheels come off like that.”
Chicago starter Derek Holland (3-3) permitted seven runs, but just three earned, and six hits in five innings in taking the loss. Four White Sox relievers followed with four hitless innings.
“It wasn’t as deflating as it might have seemed because we kept fighting,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said.
Ditto from Holland, who, settled in after being hit hard in the first two innings.
“The offense came up big,” Holland said. “We just obviously didn’t get what we wanted in the final result, but that shows a lot heart from this team and what we’re capable of.”
WILK’S HAPPY LANDING
LHP Adam Wilk joined the Twins before Thursday night’s game after being claimed off waivers from the New York Mets on Wednesday. The 29-year-old had been designated for assignment by New York after being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas then getting hit hard in an emergency start for suspended Matt Harvey on Sunday.
“Getting DFA’d over in New York, obviously you want to be claimed by somebody,” Wilk said. “I was pretty happy.”
Wilk, who underwent season-ending hip surgery in 2016, will join the Twins bullpen. Minnesota is the journeyman’s sixth major league organization.
Twins: Dozier was back in the leadoff spot after missing three games with a sprained left ankle, suffered in a 4-3 win against Boston last Friday. “The ankle still doesn’t look great, as far as aesthetics, but that’s how sprained ankles work,” manager Paul Molitor said. “I don’t think we have much concern.”
White Sox: RHP Zach Putnam (right elbow inflammation) threw from 45 and 60 feet on Thursday after seeing a doctor on Wednesday and having a MRI. “I’m trying to do everything I can to speed the process up,” Putnam said. “Today I felt good.” . . . 3B Todd Frazier was at DH on Thursday. Manager Rick Renteria said he’s trying to keep the slugger’s “back in check.”
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (5-1, 1.72 ERA) tries to rebound from his first loss this season when he faces Indians RHP Josh Tomlin (2-3, 7.12) in the opener of a three-game series at Cleveland on Friday night. Santana allowed a season-high six runs in six innings to Boston last Sunday.
White Sox: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (3-2, 3.18) tries to get back on track on Friday against San Diego RHP Jhoulys Chacin (3-3, 5.26) in the opener of a three-game set in Chicago. Gonzalez has lost his last two starts after beginning the season 3-0.