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Nolasco savors career milestone

Twins righty sharp in notching 100th victory

MINNEAPOLIS -- Shortly after defeating the Red Sox on Monday, starter Ricky Nolasco was in the Twins' clubhouse dancing for his teammates.

And while Nolasco's dancing skills admittedly might not be up to par, the righty had plenty of success on the mound, giving up just two runs in 7 2/3 innings and securing his 100th career victory in Minnesota's 7-2 win.

"It means a lot. It's been a long, long road," Nolasco said. "To just have some success like that to reach that, it's pretty special for my family."

Staked to a 7-0 lead after Minnesota's six-run outburst in the second, Nolasco struggled in the top of the third, giving up two runs on three hits.

Video: BOS@MIN: Nolasco on his start against the Red Sox

"I know how important it is when a team goes out there and gives you seven runs, you want to go out there and throw up a zero. It means a lot, but it's tough," Nolasco said. "Pitching is timing and rhythm. You sit for 45 minutes, I don't care who you are, it's going to be tough to find a little bit of a rhythm."

But after a few rocky at-bats, the veteran righty eventually found his rhythm, sending down 15 consecutive batters between the third and eighth innings.

"I think after the third, we were hoping that he could regroup and get us deeper in the game," manager Paul Molitor said. "I really didn't know how far he could go, but he just got locked in. His command got better as the game went on, especially with his offspeed stuff."

Nolasco is 5-0 with a 3.77 ERA since coming off of the disabled list with right elbow inflammation. But his milestone victory was the first time all season he made it through the sixth.

"One hundred -- that's awesome. He's 5-0 in the month of May and pitching his butt off. He's grinding and trying to find a groove," right fielder Torii Hunter said. "And this month, he's been big for us, stepping up and making quality pitches. You have to tip your cap to him right now."

Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for
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