MLB: Diamond sparkles as Twins sweep Sox
CHICAGO — Josh Willingham atoned for an earlier misplay with a tiebreaking three-run double in Minnesota’s four-run seventh inning and Scott Diamond pitched a strong game in his first start since April 13, leading the Twins to a 5-3 victory over the
slumping Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
Aaron Hicks singled in a run and Justin Morneau had a bases-loaded walk as Minnesota swept a pair of weekend games against Chicago to stretch its winning streak to four. Friday night’s series opener was postponed by rain.
Diamond (1-1) pitched six effective innings, keeping the Twins in the game while they struggled to score against Gavin Floyd. Diamond allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in his first start since he made his season debut in a loss to the New York Mets.
Jeff Keppinger had two RBIs for the White Sox, who have lost three in a row and four of six. Adam Dunn hit his third homer, snapping a career-worst hitless streak of 31 consecutive at-bats.
Chicago led 2-1 before Hicks drove in Trevor Plouffe with a single to right against Matt Lindstrom (1-1) in the seventh. Minnesota went on to load the bases when Donnie Veal issued a two-out walk to Joe Mauer, and Willingham drove the first pitch from Jesse Crain deep to center to give the Twins a 5-2 lead.
Dunn connected against Josh Roenicke in the bottom half, belting a drive to center, but Jared Burton worked the eighth and Glen Perkins finished for his fifth save in five chances.
The White Sox wasted a terrific start by Floyd, who allowed one run and three hits over six innings in a marked turnaround from his shaky beginning to the season. The right-hander dropped each of his first three starts while yielding 11 earned runs in 15 2-3 innings.
Chicago went ahead 1-0 in the fourth, making the most of a flub by Willingham. Alejandro De Aza led off with a drive to left that went off Willingham’s glove as he backpedaled to try to make the catch.
De Aza, who was credited with a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scampered home on Keppinger’s bouncer to shortstop. The White Sox then put two more runners on, but Dunn struck out and Alex Rios was cut down trying to steal third in an inning-ending double play.
Dunn went 1 for 4 with three strikeouts. The burly slugger is 7 for 65 with three walks and 26 strikeouts in 17 games after leading the majors with 105 walks and 222 strikeouts last season.
NOTES: Mauer went 0 for 3 with two walks, ending a 10-game hitting streak. ... White Sox LHP John Danks will meet with team officials on Monday and throw a bullpen session in front of pitching coach Don Cooper early this week. Danks, who is recovering from August shoulder surgery, hopes to begin a minor league rehab assignment soon. “Everything’s on the up,” he said. “We’re on an upswing right now. It’s been a lot of peaks and valleys.” ... Twins OF Chris Parmelee was out of the lineup but was available after he was hit by a fastball from White Sox reliever Matt Thornton on Saturday. “He definitely took a good one right in the elbow,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s sore.” ... RHP Kevin Correia (1-1, 2.95 ERA) is slated to get the ball for the Twins when they host Miami in the opener of a two-game set on Monday night. Correia will be opposed by Ricky Nolasco (0-2, 3.86). ... White Sox RHP Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 4.70) faces Indians RHP Justin Masterson (3-1, 1.67) on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series. ... Sunday was the anniversary of Philip Humber’s perfect game for the White Sox at Seattle.