MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins right-hander Jose Berrios spun eight innings of two-run ball and Miguel Sano homered for the second time in the series in leading the Twins to a 4-2 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday night at Target Field.
Both runs scored against Berrios came in the first three innings, including an RBI single by Avisail Garcia. Berrios didn't give up another hit until the eighth, and at one point, he retired 12 in a row. Berrios finished with eight strikeouts and one walk, while allowing just four hits. Closer Brandon Kintzler notched his 19th save with a shutout ninth, as the Twins will go for the series sweep on Thursday after winning their fourth straight against the White Sox.
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"Tonight, I tried to attack the hitter in on the plate," Berrios said. "I wanted to get ahead in the count and use secondary pitches. So that's what I got and it was a successful night."
The White Sox obviously were impressed with their first look at Berrios in 2017.
"You can see his pitches had action and life," manager Rick Renteria said. "He was locating. We did the best we could to try to generate something."
The Twins' offense provided enough support. All four runs (two earned) were off White Sox starter David Holmberg, who took the loss after logging just 3 1/3 frames. James Dozier recorded an RBI double in the second, while Max Kepler drove in a run on a base hit during a three-run third inning.
Sano sparked the outburst by clubbing his team-leading 18th homer on a 3-0 offering from Holmberg. It was Sano's second career 3-0 homer and first since Sept. 3, 2016. He is the first Twins hitter to record 18 homers before the All-Star break since Dozier hit 19 in 2015.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Oppo taco: Sano took Holmberg deep to lead off the third inning, which helped jumpstart a three-run rally. After striking out on three pitches in his first at-bat, Sano watched a pair of breaking balls and a heater miss his next time up. Sano then belted a 3-0 fastball to right-center. According to Statcast™, the ball traveled a projected 414 feet, his longest opposite-field home run since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. Of his 59 homers during that span, only nine have gone the opposite way.
"Not too many guys go oppo at 3-0, because they are looking to yank," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I give him a green light most of the time, but leading off an inning, sometimes I might make him take once in awhile. But he's kind of in scoring position when he's at the dish, so we will let him swing."
Turn two: The White Sox appeared poised for a big third inning when Adam Engel doubled down the left-field line and Alen Hanson followed with a single, putting runners at the corners with none out. Berrios buckled down and induced consecutive groundouts, including a 4-6-3 double play by Melky Cabrera, to keep the deficit at just one run. Entering Wednesday, Berrios had posted a ground-ball rate of 45 percent, after posting a 38 percent rate with Minnesota all last year.
"He just uses that two-seamer a little bit, which gets that movement and more top of the ball," Molitor said. "He's got a enough four-seamer to elevate for strikeouts, but the two-seam works and that's how you keep your pitch count down."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Ehire Adrianza logged three stolen bases for his first career multi-steal game. He is the first Twin to swipe three bases in a game since Darin Mastroianni did it on July 5, 2012, at Detroit.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson came to the plate as the potential tying run in the ninth. Kintzler got Davidson to roll into a chopper to second for the final out. After a White Sox challenge and a brief review, the out call was confirmed.
White Sox: Lefty Jose Quintana (3-8, 5.07 ERA) will try to win consecutive starts for the second time this season when he faces the Twins at 12:10 p.m. CT on Thursday at Target Field. Quintana held the Blue Jays to two runs over seven innings in his last start, a win on Friday at Rogers Centre.
Twins: Left-hander Nik Turley (0-1, 12.46) is slated to make his third Major League start in Thursday's series finale at 12:10 p.m. CT. Turley took his first loss last time out, in which he gave up eight runs over 4 2/3 innings against Cleveland.
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