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Twins split on South Side, lead for 2nd WC

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Blasts from Jorge Polanco and Brian Dozier highlighted a four-homer performance as the Minnesota Twins stormed to a 10-2 win and split a straight doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday.

The win, which was Minnesota's 12th in its last 16 games, allowed the club to maintain pace in the crowded American League Wild Card race. The Twins entered the day tied with the Angels for possession of the second Wild Card spot, and claimed sole possession of the second spot after the Angels lost to Texas on Monday night.

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CHICAGO -- Blasts from Jorge Polanco and Brian Dozier highlighted a four-homer performance as the Minnesota Twins stormed to a 10-2 win and split a straight doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday.

The win, which was Minnesota's 12th in its last 16 games, allowed the club to maintain pace in the crowded American League Wild Card race. The Twins entered the day tied with the Angels for possession of the second Wild Card spot, and claimed sole possession of the second spot after the Angels lost to Texas on Monday night.

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"It was kind of a needed performance after losing the first game of the doubleheader," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "A lot of guys contributed offensively and the pitching helped it hold up."

White Sox hold off Twins in Game 1

Minnesota quickly jumped on White Sox right-hander Carson Fulmer, who was making his first Major League start and 2017 debut after eight appearances out of the bullpen last season. After a seven-pitch first, Fulmer -- ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the South Siders' No. 11 prospect -- threw more than 40 pitches in the second before being pulled with one out. Fulmer, a former No. 8 overall draft pick known for his lights-out stuff, topped out at 96.2 mph with his fastball and induced just one swing-and-miss before being pulled at 48 pitches.

"I fell behind quite a bit, and when I made a mistake, I paid for it," Fulmer said. "I left the balls I threw up. The only thing I can do now is continue to work, learn from this experience and when I get the opportunity to do something like this again, I take full advantage of it and just continue to move on."

Rodon shines, Fulmer struggles in twin bill

Video: MIN@CWS: Polanco opens scoring with a three-run shot

"I thought they were squaring up a lot of his pitches," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "It didn't matter what [Fulmer] was throwing. I thought they were laying off of offspeed, down in the zone. They seemed to hit every fastball he was throwing. Fell behind some guys and just left some pitches out over the plate and wasn't able to get outs without going really deep into his pitch count there in the second."

Polanco, who hit a three-run homer in the first game of Monday's doubleheader, knocked another three-run blast to homer in back-to-back games for the first time in his career and set a new career-high with his fifth this season. Dozier added on with a three-run shot of his own, his 26th homer, as the Twins knocked out Fulmer after 1 1/3 innings with a 6-0 lead.

Byron Buxton continued his hot stretch, extending his career-high hitting streak to 12 games and blasting a solo homer in the fifth.

Video: MIN@CWS: Buxton belts a solo homer to left field

Twins right-hander Dillon Gee held down the fort for his first win of the season. He was sharp early, working four perfect innings on 42 pitches before Nicky Delmonico's leadoff homer in the fifth. Gee allowed a run on two hits in six innings in his best performance of the season before being pulled at 69 pitches.

"I was aggressive and was able to fill up the zone and not walk guys," said Gee, who is a candidate to start again Saturday in Toronto. "I felt in control. I didn't have the best curveball, but I threw a ton of fastballs and changeups."

Video: MIN@CWS: Gee tosses six innings and allows one run

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Twins surge in second: Fulmer cruised through a 1-2-3 first inning, setting a strong tone for his first career start. He drew his only swing-and-miss, on a changeup, to lead off the second inning against Kennys Vargas, and worked a 2-2 count. Vargas would foul off five pitches before drawing a 10-pitch walk. Fulmer would allow six runs in the inning and was pulled with one out after losing his command.

"Baseball can change in a heartbeat," Fulmer said. "Make one mistake like I did -- I left a changeup up and got hit with three runs with it. Just getting ahead of hitters, I think that's the biggest part, which I did in the first inning. Second inning I didn't, but it's all a learning experience. I can't get down on myself for it."

Polanco's two homers fill Twins' power void

Video: MIN@CWS: Dozier belts a three-run homer in the 2nd

Exclamation point: The White Sox wouldn't get any closer after the second inning, as the Twins added on insurance runs in the fourth and the fifth. Chicago's offense showed its first life in the fifth on Delmonico's homer, but it was immediately followed by an exclamation point off the bat of Twins catcher Jason Castro in the sixth. Castro sent a Dylan Covey hanging slider 421 feet to center field, according to Statcast™, Castro's first homer since June 8, as the Twins expanded their lead to 9-1.

Video: MIN@CWS: Castro extends the lead with a solo home run

QUOTABLE
"I think his fastball got it up to 94 and 95 today, with variances in his secondary pitches that was pretty good. He slowed down his gathering in his delivery. He was very quick when he first started, and now he's slowed it down, has it a little more under control. The tempo of his gathering process has improved significantly. The rest is getting back out there and continuing to compete and seeing what he needs to do to get Major League hitters out. I don't know when he'll be back, but he'll be back. He's a part of us." -- Renteria, on Fulmer

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Delmonico has now reached base in 18 of his first 19 career games. He also became the first player in White Sox history to homer six times in his first 19 career games.

"Really good at-bats against anybody he faces -- lefty, righty," Renteria said. "[He] takes what they give him and hits another ball out of the ballpark today. Went up looking for a pitch he could handle and got the first pitch in that at-bat."

Video: MIN@CWS: Delmonico drills a solo homer to right field

WHAT'S NEXT
Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson (6-10, 6.95 ERA) is set to start for the Twins in the third game of the five-game series on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Gibson lasted four innings last time out, allowing three runs on seven hits against the Indians.

White Sox: The White Sox will send No. 6 prospect and MLBPipeline.com's No. 59 overall Lucas Giolito to the mound on Tuesday for the third of what will be five games in four days against the Twins. Giolito, acquired last offseason as part of the Adam Eaton deal with the Nationals, will be making his team debut.

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

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Brian Dozier, Carson Fulmer, Dillon Gee, Jorge Polanco