Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) – Gordon Beckham hit a solo home run and drove in two as the Chicago White Sox took an 8-7 win over the Minnesota Twins to begin the second half of the season.
Juan Pierre went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored while Alex Rios added a pair of sacrifice flies for the White Sox, who are on a nine-game winning streak.
John Danks (9-7) went six innings in the win as he was charged with six runs on nine hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts.
Since June 8, Chicago has won 26 of its last 31 games to surge into first place in the AL Central, one game ahead of Detroit.
Joe Mauer hit a three-run double and went 3-for-5 with a run scored while Denard Span, J.J. Hardy and Nick Punto each had an RBI and a run scored for the Twins, who have dropped five of their last six.
“They executed pretty well at the top of the lineup and that’s what got them going today, between Pierre and (Omar) Vizquel. I think that was the key to them winning today,” Span said.
Kevin Slowey was tagged for five runs on nine hits in just three-plus innings. Alex Burnett (1-2) was tagged the loss for giving up three runs in an inning of work.
Chicago plated two runs in the first inning on sacrifice flies from Rios and Carlos Quentin. The White Sox then doubled their lead in the second as Beckham homered and another sac fly from Rios brought home Juan Pierre for a 4-0 lead.
“That’s how you draw it up, keep the line moving,” Pierre said. “It was a good team effort.”
Minnesota, though, surged ahead in the bottom of the second with a six-run frame. With two outs and two on, Hardy, Punto and Span each hit RBI singles. After Orlando Hudson walked to load the bases, Mauer cleared them with a double to left for a 6-4 lead.
Chicago got one back in the fourth when Alexei Ramirez led off with a double and came home when Beckham followed with a single to make it a 6-5 game.
The White Sox then went back on top in the fifth. With men on first and third, Burnett was called for a balk and Quentin came home. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a double to score Mark Kotsay and later scored on a Pierre groundout for an 8-6 lead.
Minnesota got a leadoff double from Orlando Hudson to start the seventh, but the team was unable to bring him home as the next three batters recorded outs.
The Twins then loaded the bases in the eighth with three consecutive two-out singles, but Bobby Jenks was summoned from the bullpen and struck out Hudson to end the inning.
Mauer doubled off of Jenks to start the ninth and Delmon Young brought him home with a two-out single to make it a one-run game, but Jenks got Jim Thome looking at strike three to pick up his 20th save of the season.
Each team has won three games in the season series thus far…Gavin Floyd takes the mound for Chicago on Friday and will be opposed by Francisco Liriano…Danks improved to 5-6 against the Twins…After the game, the Twins placed placed first baseman Justin Morneau on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 8) with a concussion. The team recalled pitcher Jeff Manship from Triple-A Rochester.