Cruz, Kepler hit 2 HRs, Twins beat White Sox 10-3
CHICAGO (AP) — Nelson Cruz got the onslaught started in the first inning and punctuated it with one mammoth home run in the ninth.
He wasn’t the only Twins player connecting.
Cruz and Max Kepler each hit two home runs, Miguel Sano went deep, and Michael Pineda threw six solid innings to lead Minnesota to a 10-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.
Cruz hit a pair of two-run homers, connecting against Ivan Nova (3-7) in the first and launching a 469-foot shot to center off Jose Ruiz in the ninth. That gave him three multihomer games this season and 30 in his career.
Cruz also doubled, singled and drove in five runs.
“Definitely, it feels good when you can hit it and know right away that it’s going,” he said.
Kepler connected leading off the fifth against Nova and added a solo drive against Josh Osich in the seventh for his career-high 21st home run. It was his third game this season with at least two homers and his seventh since he debuted for Minnesota in 2015.
Sano homered for the third time in two games, when he hit a two-run shot in the eighth.
“We’ve hit some balls over the fence this year,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Today was another game where we were able to do it. When you do that, they matter. Those home runs matter. They’re not just talking points. They actually change the game in your favor very quickly. And when you have a lineup full of guys that can do it, it becomes just a very dangerous proposition up and down the lineup.”
Pineda (5-4) gave up one run and four hits in his first win since May 21. The right-hander matched a season high with eight strikeouts and walked one after going 0-1 in his previous five starts.
Jorge Polanco singled twice and scored three runs. The AL Central-leading Twins came away with the win after matching a season high with back-to-back losses.
SOUTH SIDE SLIDE
Nova remained winless at home, allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings. The veteran right-hander is 0-4 with an 8.31 ERA in seven starts at Guaranteed Rate Field this season, and he is 0-3 in seven outings overall since a victory at Houston on May 22.
Eloy Jimenez homered. Leury Garcia had two hits and scored a run. The White Sox lost for the eighth time in 12 games.
″(Minnesota is) a good hitting ballclub,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We on the offensive side didn’t do a whole lot today.”
Twins: The Twins reinstated OFs Marwin Gonzalez and Byron Buxton from the 10-day injured list and optioned OFs Jake Cave and LaMonte Wade Jr. to Triple-A Rochester. Gonzalez had missed nine games because of a strained right hamstring, while Buxton had sat out 13 with a right wrist contusion. ... Kepler had his bruised right knee wrapped after the game after tweaking it making a catch in right field. He was replaced on defense in the ninth. But he said he’s fine.
White Sox: 3B Yoan Moncada returned to the lineup after sitting out Friday because of a bruised right knee and went 1 for 4.
Twins: LHP Lewis Thorpe makes his major league debut. Even better, he’ll have his family watching after they arrived from Australia. Thorpe didn’t realize his parents were making the trip, so he got a nice surprise after Saturday’s game. Twins director of team travel Mike Herman told him to put on some shorts and follow him out of the clubhouse. “I’ve never seen my dad cry like that,” Thorpe said. “It was just a surreal feeling.”
White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (10-2, 2.87 ERA) looks to get back to winning after a loss to the crosstown Cubs and no-decision against Boston. He was 9-0 in his previous 11 starts.