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Twins walk past White Sox in 13th inning

Odorizzi's eight-strikeout gem squandered after bullpen loses lead in ninth
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

CHICAGO -- It was an ugly four-hour, 51-minute affair that lasted 13 innings despite a lack of offense from both teams, but it ended in a much-needed win for the Twins, who gladly took the victory in stride.

After Fernando Rodney blew a save by issuing a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Max Kepler saved the day by drawing his own walk with the bases loaded in the top of the 13th to lift the Twins to a 2-1 win over the White Sox to avoid a sweep on Thursday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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CHICAGO -- It was an ugly four-hour, 51-minute affair that lasted 13 innings despite a lack of offense from both teams, but it ended in a much-needed win for the Twins, who gladly took the victory in stride.

After Fernando Rodney blew a save by issuing a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Max Kepler saved the day by drawing his own walk with the bases loaded in the top of the 13th to lift the Twins to a 2-1 win over the White Sox to avoid a sweep on Thursday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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Video: MIN@CWS: Kepler walks to allow go-ahead run to score

"It's good to salvage one," said right-hander Jake Odorizzi. "It dragged out a while, but anytime it's a win, I think everybody is willing to go 14, 15 innings; whatever it takes. Hopefully, this is the one that gets us going in the right direction, because time is getting short this time of a year to make up ground."

Rodney, who had converted 15 straight saves with a 1.37 ERA, loaded the bases with two outs and walked Daniel Palka on four pitches, tying the game at 1-1. Rodney got out of the jam with a strikeout of Yoan Moncada, then relievers Addison Reed, Taylor Rogers and Alan Busenitz combined to hold Chicago scoreless in extra innings.

"Busenitz did a good job," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "All the bullpen guys pitched well, and it's just nice to find a way to get one in the series after dropping a tough first couple of games."

Video: MIN@CWS: Adrianza nabs Tilson, Busenitz gets save

Kepler worked a walk in the 13th against former Minnesota lefty Hector Santiago, taking several close pitches, including a fastball above the zone to bring home the go-ahead run. It was the first run scored by the Twins since Logan Morrison crushed a solo shot in the seventh, while Morrison also scored the winning run after sparking the rally with a double.

Odorizzi suffered a tough-luck no-decision after Rodney's blown save, but he worked well with catcher Bobby Wilson after posting a 9.74 ERA over his past five outings. The plan to get Odorizzi back on track worked, as the right-hander struck out eight and threw six scoreless innings, scattering three hits and three walks to lower his ERA to 4.62. It was the first time Odorizzi went at least six innings since May 14, snapping a career-worst stretch of seven straight outings without going at least six frames.

"It's just nice to see the results from the work I've been putting in," Odorizzi said. "Something different I was doing to get back to that feeling. Just a little more quiet with my glove hand."

Video: MIN@CWS: Twins on extra-inning win over White Sox

The Twins' offense was quiet, and they didn't get their first hit against right-hander Lucas Giolito -- who entered with a 7.01 ERA -- until Eddie Rosario doubled with one out in the sixth. Minnesota loaded the bases in the first with Giolito walking three batters, but Ehire Adrianza popped out to end the scoring threat.

"We got nothing going until Rosie hit the double," Molitor said. "[Giolito] settled in, his command got better. And considering he had a long first inning, he was still in reasonably good shape with his pitches as he got into the sixth inning."

Morrison provided the lone run against Giolito with his solo shot in the seventh. It was absolutely crushed to left field, going a projected 440 feet, per Statcast™. It had an exit velocity of 109.4 mph at a launch angle of 30 degrees. Morrison was held out of the lineup on Wednesday to work on his mechanics with hitting coach James Rowson, and the changes appeared to work with his mammoth blast.

Video: MIN@CWS: Morrison crushes a homer to right in the 7th

"[We worked on] just less is more type stuff," Morrison said. "It was good to barrel that ball, but also to see it stay true and fair. If I can keep getting the ball in the air to my pull side, keeping 'em straight, should be turning around [my] season a little bit."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Odorizzi wins 14-pitch battle: With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth, Odorizzi faced Kevan Smith and immediately got ahead with an 0-2 count. But Smith battled back to get the count full, fouling off eight pitches, before he finally flied out to right to end the inning and Odorizzi's outing.

Video: MIN@CWS: Odorizzi retires Smith after 14-pitch at-bat

"I was just throwing the best I had out there, whatever I had left," Odorizzi said. "I made some good pitches. Sometimes it doesn't get put in play, but this time it went in our favor. I just kept challenging, and someone was going to come out ahead."

SOUND SMART
Odorizzi had never worked with Wilson behind the plate this season, but the pair had previously worked together seven times with the Rays. Odorizzi has a 4.80 ERA in 11 starts with Mitch Garver and had a 5.33 ERA in five starts with Jason Castro before he underwent season-ending knee surgery. His career ERA with Wilson is 4.19.

"It brings us back to our time in Tampa together," Odorizzi said of working with Wilson. "We worked well together there. He's a familiar face, and I mostly just followed him throughout the game. Maybe a couple spots I shook off, but I thought he called a great game. He did a phenomenal job today, and I don't think that's something that should be overlooked."

HE SAID IT
"I told [Rodney] postgame, 'That's a heck of a run.' Unblemished for quite a while, and clean. Today was a two-out bloop and a changeup that he lost command on, and then he started scrambling a little bit. I think the experience still pays. After you give up the tying run, you don't let your guard down. You try to find a way to extend the game, which he did. So I give him credit for that." -- Molitor, on Rodney's 15-save streak coming to an end

Video: MIN@CWS: Palka draws game tying bases-loaded walk

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Robbie Grossman reached on what should have been a routine out at first base in the 10th inning. Grossman knocked a ground ball up the middle to Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson, who threw to first baseman Jose Abreu.

Abreu missed the bag with his foot as he extended to haul in Anderson's throw. White Sox manager Rick Renteria challenged the play, but the safe call was upheld, giving the Twins runners at the corners with one out. White Sox reliever Joakim Soria escaped the inning unscathed, however.

Video: MIN@CWS: Grossman remains at first base after review

UP NEXT
The Twins head to Wrigley Field for the first time since 2009, with right-hander Jose Berrios (8-5, 3.15 ERA) set to start the series opener on Friday at 4:05 p.m. CT. Berrios is coming off one of the best outings of his career, throwing seven scoreless innings against the Rangers with 12 strikeouts and two hits allowed. He has a 2.05 ERA over his past eight starts. The Cubs will start lefty Mike Montgomery (2-2, 3.39 ERA).

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Jake Odorizzi