MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Joe Mauer hit a two-run double that just missed reaching the seats and Kevin Correia pitched a smooth six innings to help the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox for the third straight game, 4-3 on Saturday.
Glen Perkins pitched another tenuous ninth inning but got his 19th save in 22 tries after giving up two runs to blow one the night before. Adam Eaton led off with a triple and scored on Gordon Beckham’s sacrifice fly.
Pinch-hitter Paul Konerko then smacked a single up the middle, but Perkins struck out Jose Abreu and Adam Dunn to end it and punctuated the final swing and miss with a big pump of his left arm.
With the Twins trailing 2-1, Mauer’s drive in the fifth inning soared over left fielder Alejandro De Aza and landed about halfway up the wall. Kendrys Morales hit the next pitch for an RBI single against Andre Rienzo (4-5), who lost his fifth straight start.
Correia (4-8) gave up five runs or more in five of his first 12 starts, sliding toward replacement in the rotation, but the 33-year-old right-hander has pitched superbly in three turns since. In 18 innings, Correia has allowed a total of two earned runs and walked only four.
He surrendered his share of sharp drives on this picture-perfect first-day-of-summer afternoon, but the defense behind him didn’t do him any favors.
Center fielder Sam Fuld tried to dive for a two-out sinking liner by Conor Gillaspie in the first inning, but the ball skipped in front of and past him for a triple and Abreu followed with an RBI single. Then third baseman Eduardo Escobar bungled a routine ground ball by letting it slide between his legs to start the second inning.
The White Sox only needed a single, a walk and a two-out hit-by-pitch to produce the unearned run. Correia’s 3-1 bases-loaded fastball bounced off Beckham’s elbow and hit catcher Kurt Suzuki in the throat, but he was all right to stay in the game. Escobar committed a second error on a similar play the next inning, but Correia escaped trouble with a double-play groundball by Dayan Viciedo.
The Brazilian-born Rienzo, who debuted for the White Sox last summer, was 4-0 after his first six starts following the rotator cuff injury that knocked Felipe Paulino out of action. Rienzo has struggled badly since, though, by finishing the fifth inning in only two of his last five turns. His ERA during the losing streak is 8.87.
The Twins hit three straight two-out singles in the second inning to load the bases, and Fuld walked to force in the first run. Then Rienzo hit Brian Dozier with a pitch to put two runners on for Mauer in the fifth inning, setting the struggling six-time All-Star and three-time batting champion up for just his fourth multi-RBI game this season. Two of those have been in this series.
The White Sox have hung around the pack in the American League Central all year, never losing or winning more than four games in a row, but this has been a rough start to an 11-game road trip. They fell a season-high five games under .500 and back into last place.
The Twins took a five-game losing streak into this series. Their starters have a 2.41 ERA over the last 11 games.
NOTES: Mauer has 18 of his 20 RBIs this season at Target Field. … Gillaspie went 2 for 4 to raise his average to .340, but he doesn’t have enough at-bats to qualify yet for the league batting lead. In his last 30 games, Gillaspie is batting .366. … Twins RF Oswaldo Arcia is hitless in his last 27 at-bats. … The White Sox will send John Danks (6-5, 3.97) to the mound for the series finale Sunday, and Phil Hughes (7-3, 3.09 ERA) will pitch for the Twins. Danks has a 5.70 ERA in six road starts this season. Hughes gave up three HRs in his last home start, the only time a team has taken him deep in his last eight turns. … White Sox manager Robin Ventura successfully challenged a call in the third inning, when Brian Dozier originally led off with a double. Replays showed Beckham’s tag grazed Dozier’s foot before it landed on the base.
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