CHICAGO -- Despite not getting their first hit until the seventh inning, the Twins found a way to win their third straight game after Logan Morrison, who is continuing to heat up, slugged a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh in a 5-3 win over the White Sox on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Twins couldn't hold the lead after Morrison's double, but scored the game-winning run on an unusual play in the eighth with runners on the corners with one out. Max Kepler hit a slow roller to third baseman Yolmer Sanchez, who failed to look back at Joe Mauer at third, allowing the Twins DH to race home after Sanchez threw to first. Eddie Rosario added an insurance run in the ninth with his team-leading seventh homer of the year.
"We've had plenty of games in the first five or six weeks where we found a way to lose, but today we found a way to win," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "So it was a good way to finish up the series."
The Twins didn't get their first baserunner against White Sox starter James Shields until Ehire Adrianza walked in the sixth, and didn't get their first hit until Eduardo Escobar singled with one out in the seventh. That helped spark a three-run rally that saw Rosario single home a run before Morrison gave Minnesota the lead with his double down the right-field line.
"It was a changeup that cut, but it looks exactly like his heater," Morrison said. "Just grinded it out, and was able to deepen it enough and get in the air enough, so it worked out."
Morrison went 5-for-16 with two homers, two doubles and five RBIs in the four-game series. He's hitting .297 with three homers and nine RBIs over his last 10 games to raise his average from .113 to .182.
"We've seen signs of better at-bats," Molitor said. "He hung in there. Breaking balls have given him trouble with two strikes against lefties, and he stayed on it and was able to poke it and keep it fair. He's starting to put together some numbers here and some good at-bats."
But the Twins couldn't protect the lead in the seventh. White Sox second baseman Jose Rondon hit a leadoff single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Kyle Gibson struck out Adam Engel looking on his 102nd pitch of the afternoon and lefty Zach Duke was brought in to face the switch-hitting Leury Garcia. After falling behind 2-0 in the count, Duke gave up a game-tying RBI single to right. But the Twins came back thanks to Mauer's heads-up baserunning in the eighth.
"It's fun -- those are little games within the games," Mauer said. "And to be able to make a play there for the boys, to get the winning run in, is definitely good."
Gibson was stuck with the no-decision after allowing three runs on four hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts. He was hurt by leadoff doubles from Engel in the third and Sanchez in the sixth. The first run came on Gibson's first wild pitch of the year.
"It's all about execution and getting ahead of guys," said Gibson, who has a 3.49 ERA this season. "They showed early they were going to be aggressive."
The Twins won three consecutive games for the second time this season and the first time since April 10-12. Despite their 13-17 record and recent slide, they're only two games back of the Indians in the American League Central.
"I think that's the identity of the team we want to have, a veteran team that never gives up and doesn't get down on ourselves," Gibson said. "Whether it's just one game [in a series], you have to keep it in the right perspective when you have three left. You can come out of a series 3-1 and looking pretty rosy after a tough one that first one. You've gotta have the right perspective -- that we're only 30 games in and there's a lot of season left."
HE SAID IT
"It's not what you've done, it's what you're gonna do, and I think this team's done a great job of putting the past in the past and focusing on the present." -- Morrison
The Twins head to St. Louis for a two-game Interleague series against the Cardinals that begins on Monday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Rookie right-hander Fernando Romero (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will look to build on his impressive debut, when he threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays. There remains an outside chance center fielder Byron Buxton could return from the 10-day disabled list. Right-hander John Gant (1-0, 0.00 ERA) starts for the Cardinals.