CHICAGO (AP) — Chris Sale pitched seven sharp innings and Paul Konerko and Alex Rios backed him with home runs, leading the Chicago White Sox to a 6-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.
Sale (5-2) held the Twins to two hits and two walks, striking out six. He has allowed three runs or less in all eight of his starts in his first year as a member of the Chicago rotation.
Still showing a black eye after getting hit in the face by a pitch last Friday, Konerko had three hits and scored three times. He connected in the seventh for his ninth homer of the season and extended his hitting streak to nine games, during which he’s batting .548 (17 of 31).
Rios sent a two-run homer into the Twins’ bullpen in left field in the fourth.
The White Sox have won five of six.
The Twins entered the game with the worst record in the AL, but had gone 5-1 on their current road trip. They hurt themselves by making three errors, setting up three unearned runs — Minnesota had committed just one error in its previous eight games.
Scott Diamond (3-1) allowing five runs, only two of them earned. He left the game with a 1.78 ERA this season.
Sale permitted just one runner past first base and induced the Twins to bounce into a pair of double plays. He’s made a seamless return to the rotation over his last three outings after a brief shift to the bullpen, the team’s response to his elbow soreness.
Chicago scored an unearned run in the first on Adam Dunn’s RBI single, aided by an error from second baseman Jamey Carroll. The White Sox tacked on two more unearned runs in the sixth on an RBI double by A.J. Pierzynski and an RBI groundout by Orlando Hudson, with right fielder Darin Mastroianni dropping a fly ball during the inning.
Joe Mauer reached base three times for Minnesota on a single and a pair of walks. He’s reached base in 13 of his last 18 plate appearances.
NOTES: White Sox INF Orlando Hudson made his first career start at third base. … Chicago manager Robin Ventura said there is still no timetable for the return if 3B Brent Morel, who is on the disabled list with a back strain, but the team is relieved that he will not need surgery. A third baseman in his playing days, Ventura said, “Every third baseman has back problems. I had them. You learn how to take care of them.” … Ventura said that rookie Addison Reed is now his full-time closer. Reed has converted all four of his save opportunities this season.
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