Buxton, Plouffe homer to lead Twins over White Sox
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Byron Buxton's trip back to Minnesota included an early morning wakeup, a flat tire on his rental car on the way to the airport, a three-mile walk and a changed flight, followed by the need to get his car out of security when he got back to the Twin Cities.
The long, tiring trip was worth it Thursday night.
Buxton homered in his return to the majors, and Trevor Plouffe continued his resurgence with a two-run shot as the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 8-5 to end a 13-game losing streak.
''I'm about to go straight to the pillow,'' Buxton said. ''I'm exhausted.''
Buxton started his third stint with Minnesota this season in surprising fashion, connecting for a three-run home run to cap a five-run second inning. The home run reached the second deck in left field and was Buxton's second of the season, his first in 34 games.
The former top prospect has had a rough transition to the majors, hitting .199 entering Thursday in 109 career games the past two seasons. He was sent back to Triple-A Rochester on Aug. 7 after a 1-for-18 stretch saw his 2016 average dip to .193.
''We're going to be looking for positive signs here,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ''He's still very young in terms of age and experience. He's got a lot of work to do. But we all know that there's talent there that we're hoping to see that he can harness a little bit more consistently.''
Minnesota got to Chicago starter Jose Quintana, who entered the day leading the American League with a 2.77 ERA. Quintana (11-10) allowed seven runs and seven hits in five innings and saw his ERA rise to 3.05.
''I mean disappointing with the homers, especially early,'' Quintana said. ''It was a bad night for me.''
Ervin Santana (7-10) escaped trouble to win for the fourth time in five decisions. He gave up 11 hits and two walks, but allowed just two runs as the Twins snapped their losing streak, one off the franchise record for a season.
Brandon Kintzler recorded his 13th save in 14 chances.
''Everybody seems more happy than yesterday,'' Santana said. ''But it's still, we have more games to play.''
Chicago has scored 171 runs, the second-fewest in the AL, since the All-Star break. The White Sox left runners in scoring position in each of the first five innings and left a total of 13 men on base in the game.
Avisail Garcia showed the frustration when he snapped his bat over his knee after his second strikeout of the game in the seventh.
''We left a lot of runs out there,'' Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. ''When you look up there and see you've left 10 guys and they didn't leave any at one point; that really kind of tells the tale more than (Quintana).''
Todd Frazier hit his 34th home run to open the scoring in the second for the White Sox. Jose Abreu connected for a two-run homer, his 20th, in the sixth.
COME ON UP
Buxton was Minnesota's lone call-up on Thursday with rosters expanding in September.
Chicago added RHP Juan Minaya and C Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte.
Minaya, 25, was 5-6 with a 3.63 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 52 innings over 47 relief appearances since being claimed off waivers from Houston on June 22.
Smith, 28, was recalled by the White Sox in April before going on the DL with a sacroiliac joint dysfunction without playing in a game. Smith was hitting .219 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs for Charlotte this season.
Minaya and Smith made their major league debuts in the eighth inning. Minaya pitched a scoreless inning. Smith lined out to center in his first at-bat.
White Sox: SS Tim Anderson left the game in the third with a bruised right calf and was announced by the team as day to day. He was hit by line drive by teammate Melky Cabrera in the first. ... RHP Miguel Gonzalez (strained right groin) started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday. Gonzalez took the loss while allowing seven runs - six earned - in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out seven.
Twins: Pitchers Trevor May (low back strain) and Tommy Milone (left biceps tendinitis) each threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and are scheduled to throw in the bullpen again during the weekend. If all goes well, the two would make a simulated start sometime next week, Molitor said.
RHP Kyle Gibson (5-8, 5.17 ERA) will start the second game of the four-game series for Minnesota on Friday against LHP Carlos Rodon (5-8, 3.91). Gibson has allowed nine earned runs over his past two starts but has given up just one earned run in 12 2/3 innings against the White Sox this season. Rodon has won his last three decisions and owns a 1.47 ERA in his past five starts.