CHICAGO -- A two-game losing streak for the White Sox came to a decisive end Friday as the South Siders cruised past Minnesota with a 10-4 victory at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox became the first team in the American League to reach 20 victories, joining the Cubs (22) in the National League.
"It's a team win, that's what it is," said White Sox starting and winning pitcher Mat Latos. "It's a team win. The guys really had my back. I gave up four runs and as a starting pitcher, that's not what you want to do."
The White Sox knocked out 14 hits against four Minnesota pitchers, with everyone but Todd Frazier getting at least one hit. Dioner Navarro was one of the last to join the hit parade with an infield single with the bases loaded in the seventh. His grounder up the middle was knocked down by reliever Fernando Abad, but Abad couldn't find the ball sitting right at his feet. It was that kind of a night for the last-place Twins, who have lost three straight.
"Obviously the losing piles up," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It's how it's going right now. As far as offensively, we did some good things. We were down 5-1 and didn't quit. … When you get to those points in the game, and you're trailing early, you have to find ways to put zeros up, and that's what we couldn't do."
Latos improved to 5-0, although the Twins made solid contact against him over five innings. The right-hander allowed four runs on seven hits, while striking out four and walking two. Ricky Nolasco suffered the loss, yielding five earned runs on nine hits over five innings.
Trevor May hit Jose Abreu with an 0-1 fastball in the eighth, leading to both benches and bullpens emptying in an argument where no punches were thrown. White Sox manager Robin Ventura was ejected by crew chief Bill Miller for arguing intent on the pitch to Abreu.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED More of the same ... and that's a good thing: The White Sox defense continued to save runs. Tyler Saladino took away a hit from Eduardo Escobar in the second by ranging to his left and into short center to field his grounder and then make a strong throw to first. Adam Eaton took extra bases away from Eduardo Nunez in the third and Austin Jackson did the same to Byung Ho Park leading off the sixth.
"That's the kind of ball we like to play," Saladino said. "One way or another, helping each other out and making plays. The plays that were made, those were huge. That's surprising everybody, covering as much ground as those guys did. That just shows how good those guys really are out there." More >
Big boot: Escobar left the game in the third inning with a strained left groin, but the impact of his first-inning error remained. With two outs and a runner on, Escobar booted a routine ground ball to allow Frazier to reach first. That brought up Cabrera, who hit a two-RBI double that put the Twins in an early hole. Escobar has a team-high five errors this season. That was the Twins' only error Friday, but not their only mistake. More >
"The trend is concerning because it seems to be a pattern," Molitor said of his team's sloppy play. "Couple plays change the game, but the reality is they happen. We don't make a couple plays that lead to four, five runs."
Two-out connections: With the White Sox holding a 5-4 lead and two outs in the fifth, Cabrera and Brett Lawrie came through with run-scoring singles off Nolasco. The duo picked up Abreu and Frazier, who both grounded out with runners on first and third and nobody out.
No more for Mauer: For the first time this season, Twins first baseman Joe Mauer did not reach base, going 0-for-4 to end his on-base streak at 28 games. Mauer's streak was the longest in baseball to start this season and the second-longest to open a season by a Twins player since the franchise moved to Minnesota, trailing only fellow Kent Hrbek (33 games in 1982).
"It will be the last time I say it because nobody wants to hear it. It's tough. Just got to keep going forward, heads up high and keep battling." -- Nolasco on his team's play
"I really want to go more. Someday, sometime, I'll find the seventh inning." -- Latos, who battled through five Friday, but has yet to work more than 6 1/3 innings this season
"I always say we are a family and we showed today that we really are a family." -- Abreu
Latos improved to 5-0 on Friday night, joining Chris Sale, who is 6-0, with unbeaten starts among the White Sox starters. Per MLB Network's pregame notes, they stand as the second White Sox pair to start with wins in their first five decisions over the past 100 years. It also happened in 1993 with Jack McDowell and Wilson Alvarez. McDowell won the American League Cy Young Award that year and the White Sox won the division.
The White Sox have scored 28 runs in the seventh inning, their most in any inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana returns from the disabled list for a start against the White Sox on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Santana is 0-1 with with a 3.15 ERA in four starts this season.
White Sox: Sale takes his unblemished 6-0 record and 1.66 ERA to the mound Saturday night at 6:10 p.m. CT for his first start this season against the Twins. Sale had a 1-4 record with a 7.36 ERA over six starts against the Twins last season.