Dozier, Morneau go deep to back Correia
Three-run shot in second turns tide; 1B hits first since April 28
MINNEAPOLIS -- For Brian Dozier, it was a sign that his swing is coming around, after he crushed his second homer over his last three games.
But for Justin Morneau, it was a long time coming, as he finally overcame the longest homerless drought of his career with a two-run blast against the White Sox -- his first homer since April 28.
The two homers cashed in five runs and backed Kevin Correia, who notched his team-leading eighth quality start while outpitching Chris Sale, to help carry the Twins to a 7-4 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday night at Target Field.
"It was a nice win for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had some big ones in the seats there with Dozier early and then Morny getting into one, which was a lot of fun. And Correia was fantastic. He was changing speeds and moving in and out. We were facing a very good pitcher in Sale, and it was one of those games where we were hoping we could sneak past him and we did a decent job."
Correia, who has been the club's most consistent starter this year, was solid yet again, giving up two runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out six and didn't walk a batter.
Dozier, moved up to the leadoff spot in the order for the first time since May 20, made Sale pay in the second inning with a three-run blast.
Oswaldo Arcia started it off with a line drive that hit off Sale for an infield single before Clete Thomas drew a one-out walk. Pedro Florimon grounded out to advance both runners to set the stage for Dozier, who came through in a big way with a three-run shot to left for his fifth homer and his second over his last three games.
"His scouting report said that if he falls behind 1-0, he comes after you with the heater, so I sat on it," Dozier said. "He left it over the plate and I got a good pitch to hit."
Minnesota added another run in the third on an RBI single from Trevor Plouffe after back-to-back one-out singles from Josh Willingham and Morneau.
It marked a rare subpar outing for Sale, who entered with a 2.43 ERA, but ended up allowing four runs on eight hits over five innings to mark his second-shortest outing of the year.
"They had some good at-bats, started putting some guys on base, started putting some pressure on him," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "I think tonight is not a normal night for Chris."
Right-hander Deunte Heath replaced Sale in the sixth but struggled, giving up three runs. Willingham brought home the first run with an RBI single before Morneau launched a two-run blast to left field. It was just the third homer for Morneau.
"I was sure hoping it was going to be gone," said Morneau, who had gone 168 at-bats without a homer. "That's for sure. It had been a while. So it was a good feeling. It was a good game for us. It's the monkey off my back, so hopefully we can get rolling here."
Morneau also got the silent treatment in the dugout after the homer, as his teammates wanted to play a prank on him. So Morneau walked into the dugout and high-fived the air.
"I had a lot of imaginary friends there," Morneau said. "I'd seen that done but had never had it done to me. So I thought I could stand there and look like an idiot or high-five the air and look like an idiot. So it was fun."
The showing by the offense was more than enough for Correia, who gave up a leadoff homer to open the game to Alejandro De Aza but settled down after that. He didn't give up another run until the seventh, when he surrendered a two-out double to Conor Gillaspie, who came around to score on a single from Dayan Viciedo.
"It was a rough start, giving up the home run to start the game, but I was pretty good after that," Correia said. "I think I got a majority of my strikeouts with the curveball. I knew they were going to be aggressive."
Viciedo's single knocked Correia from the game. Right-hander Ryan Pressly struck out Gordon Beckham to end the inning, but he gave up two runs in the eighth. Pressly left with runners at second and third with two outs in the eighth, and left-hander Brian Duensing came in to face Adam Dunn, who collected a two-run single. Right-hander Josh Roenicke came in and recorded the final out of the eighth before handing it off to closer Glen Perkins, who picked up his 18th save with a scoreless ninth.
Setup man Jared Burton didn't pitch his usual eighth inning, as Gardenhire was hoping to avoid him because he pitched on Tuesday and has been dealing with a minor groin injury.
"We were trying not to use him," Gardenhire said. "We were also trying to avoid using Perk, but it went that way."