The Sports Xchange, Published September 18 2013
Twins hold on to drop White SoxCHICAGO - The Minnesota Twins nearly coughed up an early four-run lead but managed to turn it into a win on Wednesday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Twins, who had dropped five straight games against the Chicago White Sox, snapped that skid with a 4-3 victory in front of an announced crowd of 14,520 in the last meeting of the season between the American League Central cellar dwellers.
Minnesota, which won the season series against Chicago with an 11-8 record, heads to Oakland for a four-game series against the A's. The Twins (65-86) also avoided being swept for the 11th time this season.
Scott Diamond (6-11) picked up his first win since June 20 at Target Field - also against the White Sox (60-92) - and Glen Perkins closed it out in the ninth for his 36th save.
John Danks (4-14) took his fourth straight loss, despite turning around an ugly outing quickly and making it into something he can build off for his next start.
It didn't take long for the Twins to jump all over Danks, who came into the game with a 0-3 record and 9.42 ERA in his three previous starts. After scratching out a run in the first inning on two hits, Minnesota scored three times in the second on five hits, including doubles by Ryan Doumit and Eduardo Escobar.
Chris Colabello, Eric Fryer and Brian Dozier also had run-scoring singles in the inning to give Diamond a quick 4-0 lead.
Danks, meanwhile, looked like he was destined to leave a fourth straight outing before working six innings. He gave up seven hits combined in the first two innings and did not have a strikeout.
Instead, he turned things around by retiring 16 hitters in a row between the second and seventh innings to keep the Sox within reasonable striking distance.
Alejandro De Aza eventully got Chicago on the board with a solo homer to lead off the fourth - his fifth leadoff home run of the year and just the second hit allowed by Diamond. It was also De Aza's 16th homer of the year, the most by a Sox leadoff man since Ray Durham also belted 16 in 2001.
As for Diamond, the Minnesota starter got out of the inning OK but started to tire -- eventually yielding two more runs on a one-out single by Jordan Danks to make it 4-3 in the seventh.
Diamond was relieved in the seventh by Casey Fien, who preserved the slim one-run lead by getting the only two hitters he faced to strand Jordan Danks on first.
John Danks' day also ended after seven innings. He allowed Minnesota's four early runs but did not give up another hit after Dozier's RBI single in the second - striking out two with no walks.
Danks just couldn't get enough offensive support to make it count for anything more than carryover confidence.
NOTES: The White Sox plan to skip LHP Hector Santiago's next scheduled turn in the starting rotation to give him some rest, but he could still take the turn if needed. ... Before the game, White Sox prospect 2B Micah Johnson was honored by general manager Rick Hahn and assistant GM Buddy Bell for leading the minor leagues with 84 stolen bases this season, split between three levels. He was given a commemorative base and plaque. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he tries not to get too caught up thinking about the future, even with highly touted prospects on the way like CF Byron Buxton and 3B Miguel Sano. "We all know it's coming, but I can't control any of that right now," he said. "We joke about it an awful lot, you know, 'When these guys get here ... ' but really a lot of that is down the road. They'll be in spring training, these guys, and hopefully I'll be there with them. That's the first priority, to try and be there with them."