CHICAGO -- Minnesota starter Trevor May had never thrown more than five strikeouts this season, but on Saturday, he struck out nine to help the Twins beat the White Sox, 4-3. May went seven innings without a walk and allowed six hits to keep the White Sox offense at bay.
Chicago's offense left six men on base, unable to make up an early deficit in full after the third inning. The White Sox are averaging 2.33 runs in their last six games, four of which have been losses.
"[May] had a great changeup going today," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "Some of it's going to be the shadows, but he was able to get guys out in front. Normally, he's just a fastball guy sinking it and running it away but his offspeed stuff was very good today. We had to be better at staying with it, staying in the middle."
White Sox starter Chris Sale, ultimately tagged with the loss, struck out 10 and walked only one over eight innings, but he allowed two runs in both the second and third innings before he settled down.
After the Twins' Torii Hunter and Eduardo Nunez homered in the second inning, first baseman Trevor Plouffe hit an RBI single to score Brian Dozier for what proved to be the winning run in the third. Both offenses went stagnant following the third, as the Twins' bullpen closed out the final two frames of May's career day. Left-hander Aaron Thompson replaced May in the eighth and was helped by a diving catch from Aaron Hicks in center field to rob Adam Eaton of an extra-base hit to open the inning.
"It's a huge play," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "And with the way the lineup was coming it was probably the biggest out of the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Hunter, Nunez go deep: Sale cruised through the first inning, but Hunter crushed a solo blast to lead off the second for his team-leading seventh homer. Just three batters later, Nunez connected on a solo blast to give the Twins an early 2-0 lead. It marked the first time this season Sale gave up two homers in a game.
"We just had some good approaches with a couple home runs and [Kurt] Suzuki just missed one," Molitor said. "You take them any way you can get them off a guy like that."
Trip to third: Trailing, 4-1, in the third inning, White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton knocked a pitch down the right-field line into the corner. It was good for a stand-up triple, scoring second baseman Carlos Sanchez, and Eaton scored later to make it 4-3.
May's career day: May set a career high by going seven innings, while falling just one strikeout short of his career best with nine punchouts. He was efficient, as he didn't walk a batter and threw just 80 pitches. Left-hander Aaron Thompson replaced May in the eighth and was helped by a diving catch from Aaron Hicks in center field to rob Adam Eaton of an extra-base hit to open the inning.
"I felt comfortable with the changeup today," May said. "Aggressive with it. I think with the shadows, it definitely helped." More >
Costly error: White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie's throwing error in the third inning allowed the Twins to put the go-ahead run on base. A routine grounder, Gillaspie's throw went wide of first, and Danny Santana scored two batters later.
"Any time you're going to give them extra opportunities, it can hurt you," Ventura said. "One run's a big deal in this league, so you have to be able to be cleaner and eliminate all that."
"We lost the game right there in the second inning, giving up two homers. Just have to be down with it, anytime, no matter how hard it is, if it's up, they're going to take advantage." -- Sale, on his performance More >
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The last time Sale allowed two home runs in a game came on Sept. 17, 2014, against the Kansas City Royals. Last year, Sale didn't allow a home run until May 27. This season, he has already allowed six.
ABREU'S STREAK ENDS Jose Abreu's hitting streak was snapped at 17 games after he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Abreu is hitting a team-leading .283 this season, but he has not hit a home run in his last seven games.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: The Twins turn to right-hander Kyle Gibson in the series finale on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT. Gibson is coming off an uneven start against the Rays, but he still has a 1.38 ERA in four outings in May.
White Sox: The White Sox will look to provide run support for starter Jose Quintana on Sunday when they wrap up their series against the Indians at 1:10 p.m. CT at U.S. Cellular Field. Quintana has pitched four quality starts in his last five outings, but the offense has averaged 1.8 runs in that span.
Greg Garno is a contributor to MLB.com. Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.