Twins belt 4 HRs in opener with White Sox

Twins belt 4 HRs in opener with White Sox

MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer, Eduardo Nunez, Kennys Vargas and Brian Dozier each homered to help power the Twins to a 13-2 win over the White Sox on Monday night at Target Field.

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This is just the fourth time this season the Twins reached double-digits in runs, and the first time since May 6, when they also scored 13 runs against the A's. The four homers set a season high, while the 13 runs tied a season best. Vargas paced the offense with a career-high four hits and four RBIs, including a three-run blast as part of a five-run sixth inning, while Mauer and Nunez both homered in a five-run fourth. Dozier later connected on a two-run shot in the eighth to score Byron Buxton, who registered three hits in his first career game as Minnesota's leadoff hitter.

"A lot of guys had good nights offensively," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Kennys, Nunez, Buxton, Dozier. Torii [Hunter] had a big hit. So a lot of contributions, which is going to happen when you score 13 runs."

The offense backed left-hander Tommy Milone, who gave up two runs on 10 hits over six innings to improve to 2-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four starts since rejoining the rotation early this month. White Sox left-hander John Danks, who entered with a career 5.67 ERA against the Twins, was hit hard, giving up nine runs (five earned) on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings.

"I stunk. There's really no other way to put it. I wasn't good in the bullpen, wasn't good in the game. Made bad pitches, got hit," Danks said. "Got to throw early strikes, got to get ahead and got to make some quality pitches. I didn't do it."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Buxton shows off his tools: Buxton, making his first career start at leadoff, sparked a rally in the first inning by reaching on his first career double. He easily scored on a single from Dozier to give the Twins an early one-run lead. And in the third, Buxton showed off his arm, throwing out Melky Cabrera as he tried to score from second on a single to center from Alexei Ramirez to end the inning. Buxton's throw home was clocked at 93.2 mph per Statcast™. Buxton later showed off his speed in the sixth, reaching on an infield single to shortstop for his first multihit game.

"It feels good," Buxton said. "I'm just glad Molitor had that much faith in me to put me in the leadoff spot. I just tried to relax and have fun." More >

Buxton's all-around game

LaRoche comes through: Designated hitter Adam LaRoche delivered two runs for the White Sox in the third, giving them their only lead of the game. With the bases loaded, LaRoche ripped a single up the middle, scoring Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu. The White Sox had five consecutive baserunners reach with two outs.

Twins put up five-spot in fourth: Mauer led off the fourth with a solo blast to left for his fourth homer of the season and second of this homestand. Torii Hunter followed with a walk, and Trevor Plouffe hit a potential double-play ball, but Ramirez's throw sailed into the outfield. That mistake came back to haunt the White Sox, as Kurt Suzuki sent home Hunter with a sacrifice fly before Nunez connected on a two-run blast to left.

"It was good in the fact that they took a lead after we scored, but we came back rather quickly with the five-run inning," Molitor said.

Twins score five runs in 4th

Defensive miscues hurt White Sox: The White Sox entered Monday with a .982 fielding percentage, 24th in the Majors, and three errors won't help that. Ramirez's error was followed by Cabrera hitting Hunter with a throw from left, enabling Plouffe to take an extra base. Reliever Scott Carroll added a throwing error in the sixth inning.

"There's one that [he] should have made," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of the Ramirez play. "I mean, we know that, but at that point it does get frustrating, but that wasn't the reason for the game. I mean, we should play much better than that. That's an unfortunate one, but you've got to be able to come back and bounce back from it." More >

QUOTABLE
"With Buxton on base, I think Dozier gets more fastballs. So I definitely think if he's in the leadoff spot and keeps that going like he did today, there's no doubt he's not going anywhere." -- Hunter, on Buxton's first game at leadoff

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Twins have improved to 5-0 against the White Sox at Target Field this season, outscoring them, 44-10, in the process. Minnesota has scored at least 10 runs four times this season; three of those instances have come against Chicago at Target Field.

WHAT'S NEXT
White Sox: The White Sox will send Jeff Samardzija to the mound on Tuesday for the third time this season against the Twins. Samardzija has a no-decision and a win in his first two starts against Minnesota, giving up six earned runs in 15 innings. He's 4-4 on the season with a 4.67 ERA, especially struggling in first innings.

Twins: Right-hander Mike Pelfrey makes the start in the second game of the series on Tuesday. Pelfrey has been the club's most consistent starter this season, and is coming off a strong outing against the Cardinals on Thursday, during which he gave up just one run over eight innings to lower his ERA to 2.97.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.