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Twins end worst season on winning note

CHICAGO--Byron Buxton went 2-for-4, including an leadoff inside-the-park home run, as the Minnesota Twins cruised to a season-ending 6-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton celebrates with shortstop Jorge Polanco after defeating the Chicago White Sox 6-3 at U.S. Cellular Field. Photo by Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton celebrates with shortstop Jorge Polanco after defeating the Chicago White Sox 6-3 at U.S. Cellular Field. Photo by Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO-Byron Buxton went 2-for-4, including an leadoff inside-the-park home run, as the Minnesota Twins cruised to a season-ending 6-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Buxton reached base three times, scored twice and added two RBI to help shoot down White Sox left-hander Chris Sale's bid for a career-high 18th victory.

The Twins (59-103) closed with three wins in their final four games. The White Sox finished 78-84 with losses in three of their last four.

Twins starter Jose Berrios (3-7) earned the win while allowing one run on four hits, striking out three and walking three in a five-inning outing.

Minnesota closer Brandon Kintzler worked a one-two-three ninth for his 17th save.

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Sale (17-10) gave up five runs on six hits, walked one and struck out six in a five-inning outing in his career-high 32nd start of the season.

Sale finished the season with 233 strikeouts, the sixth highest in White Sox history.

Sunday's game may have been the last for fifth-year manager Robin Ventura, whose contract is up at season's end. According to published reports, Ventura could be replaced with bench coach Rick Renteria, who last managed the Cubs in 2014.

Buxton made the most of his first leadoff shot of the season with his first-pitch inside-the-park home run and a 1-0 Twins lead.

Buxton filled in for Brian Dozier, who sat out the game with a strained oblique.

It was the Twins' second inside-the-park homer this season and first by any opponent at U.S. Cellular Field since Texas' Ian Kinsler had one on Aug. 23, 2013.

The speedy Buxton doubled into the left-field corner in the third inning to advance Logan Schafer to third. Schafer scored on Jorge Polando's sacrifice to center for a 2-0 lead.

Miguel Sano's 25th home run of the season with one out to left brought home Buxton and Robbie Grossman for a 5-0 lead. The White Sox promptly got one run back when first baseman Jose Abreu's two-out RBI single-his 100th RBI of the season-drove in Adam Eaton in the last of the third.

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Abreu is the seventh player in major league history with 100-plus RBIs in his each of his first three seasons.

Right-hander Juan Minaya, who entered in relief of Sale, loaded the bases in the sixth inning and Jacob Turner came in and walked Buxton to bring home Max Kepler for a 6-1 lead.

Chicago's Melky Cabrera made it 6-2 in the seventh with a fielder's choice grounder to first that scored Eaton. In the eighth, Omar Narvaez's ground out to first brought home Avisail Garcia cut the Twins led to 6-3.

NOTES: Twins 2B Brian Dozier exited Saturday's game with right oblique soreness and sat out Sunday's finale. He closed the season with 42 home runs, tied for third in the majors coming into Sunday's action. ... The Twins' bullpen had a 4.62 ERA entering Sunday, the highest in the AL and fifth highest in MLB. It's the highest bullpen ERA byTwins since the 2001 season (4.97). ... The Twins finished with the most losses since moving from Washington to Minneapolis-St. Paul in 1961. They lost 102 in 1982, the only other Minnesota season with 100-plus defeats. ... The Twins open the 2017 season on April 3 at home against the Kansas City Royals. ... White Sox LHP Chris Sale's start in Sunday's final game of the season was his career-high 32nd of the campaign. He pitched a career-best 226 2/3 innings. ... Chicago surpassed its win total from last season (76-86) but finished with a sub-.500 record for the fourth straight year-all under manager Robin Ventura. ... Sunday's game marked the last played at the ballpark under the name U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox open the 2017 season on April 3 against Detroit at the renamed Guaranteed Rate Field under a new naming rights agreement that takes effect Nov. 1.

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