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Associated Press, Published April 21 2013

Willingham’s three-run double helps Twins beat White Sox

CHICAGO – For Josh Willingham, that flub in the fourth was an eternity ago when he came to the plate in a big spot for the Minnesota Twins.

It was just about coming up with another clutch hit.

Willingham atoned for an earlier misplay with a tiebreaking three-run double in Minnesota’s four-run seventh inning, leading the Twins to a 5-3 victory over the slumping Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

“Regardless of what happened in the game you want to come through when you get a chance to hit with runners in scoring position and I was able to come through today,” he said.

Aaron Hicks singled in a run and Justin Morneau had a bases-loaded walk as Minnesota swept a pair of weekend games against Chicago to stretch its winning streak to four. Friday night’s series opener was postponed by rain.

Scott Diamond (1-1) pitched six effective innings, keeping the Twins in the game while they struggled to score against Gavin Floyd. Diamond allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in his first start since he made his season debut in a loss to the New York Mets on April 13.

“I was just down in the zone. That was the biggest focus after last game,” he said. “I was able to just locate down with most of my stuff.”

Jeff Keppinger had two RBIs for the White Sox, who have lost three straight and nine of 12. Adam Dunn hit his third homer, snapping a career-worst hitless streak of 31 consecutive at-bats.

“It’s still early, you don’t want to keep losing games like this, but we’re not worried,” outfielder Alex Rios said. “We’re a talented team and we’re going to be able to compete in this division and in other divisions. We just have to put a few good at-bats together and we’ll be fine. We’ll get out of this.”

Chicago led 2-1 before Hicks drove in Trevor Plouffe with a single against Matt Lindstrom (1-1) in the seventh. Minnesota went on to load the bases when Donnie Veal issued a two-out walk to Joe Mauer, and Willingham drove the first pitch from Jesse Crain deep to center to give the Twins a 5-2 lead.

Dunn connected against Josh Roenicke in the bottom half, belting a drive to center, but Jared Burton worked the eighth and Glen Perkins finished for his fifth save in five chances.

“Our bullpen came in and did a really nice job of shutting it down at the end,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

The White Sox wasted a terrific start by Floyd, who allowed one run and three hits over six innings in a marked turnaround from his shaky beginning to the season. The right-hander dropped each of his first three starts while yielding 11 earned runs in 15 Xc innings.

“It’s a bittersweet thing,” Floyd said. “You’re happy that you threw well, but unhappy that we lost, but we just put it behind us and work on the next start.”

Minnesota Chicago

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Carroll 2b 5 2 2 0 De Aza lf 4 2 2 0

Mauer dh 3 1 0 0 Kppngr 2b 3 0 0 2

Wlngh lf 4 0 2 3 Rios rf 3 0 0 0

Mornea 1b 3 0 0 1 Konerk 1b 4 0 1 0

Doumit c 4 0 0 0 A.Dunn dh 4 1 1 1

Plouffe 3b 3 1 0 0 AlRmrz ss 3 0 0 0

Arcia rf 3 0 0 0 Gillaspi 3b 3 0 0 0

Hicks cf 3 1 1 1 Flowrs c 2 0 1 0

EEscor ss 4 0 1 0 Wise cf 3 0 0 0

Totals 32 5 6 5 Totals 29 3 5 3

Minnesota 000 001 400— 5

Chicago 000 101 100— 3

E—Diamond (1). DP—Minnesota 2, Chicago 1. LOB—Minnesota 6, Chicago 2. 2B—Willingham (4), De Aza (4). HR—A.Dunn (3). SB—Hicks (2). CS—Rios (2). SF—Keppinger.

IP H R ER BB SO

Minnesota

Diamond W,1-1 6 4 2 1 2 5

Roenicke H,2 1 1 1 1 0 1

Burton H,4 1 0 0 0 0 2

Perkins S,5-5 1 0 0 0 0 2

Chicago

Floyd 6 3 1 1 3 6

Lindstrom L,1-1 Xc 2 3 3 1 1

Veal 0 0 1 1 1 0

Crain 1Zc 1 0 0 1 2

A.Reed 1 0 0 0 0 2

Veal pitched to 1 batter in the 7th.

WP—Diamond. PB—Flowers.

T—2:59. A—19,587 (40,615).