CHICAGO – Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Schoop hit solo homers in the second inning, Michael Pineda pitched five sharp innings and the Minnesota Twins beat the White Sox, 3-1, on Tuesday night.
Eddie Rosario knocked in an insurance run in the eighth as the AL Central-leading Twins won their third straight to remain 3½ games ahead of Cleveland. Minnesota (80-51) moved to 29 games above .500 for the first time since Sept. 26, 2010.
Tim Anderson’s 14th homer accounted for the only run off Pineda (10-5), who won his third straight start and fourth straight decision. The right-hander allowed four hits and walked one while striking out eight but was replaced by Sam Dyson to start the sixth after 89 pitches.
Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers followed as Minnesota’s bullpen came through with four scoreless innings. Rogers pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save.
Lucas Giolito (14-7), who shut out the Twins in a three-hitter while striking out 12 and walking none in Minneapolis last week, wasn’t as crisp this time. The Sox ace gave up two runs and four hits with three walks in six innings, while striking out nine to reach 203 for the season.
Giolito threw 106 pitches, topping 100 for the fifth straight outing.
Max Kepler, who leads the Twins with 35 home runs, didn’t start but pinch-hit in the eighth and then played center in an outfield shift after Gonzalez left with an abdominal issue. Minnesota still increased its major league-leading homer total to 255.
The Twins took a 2-0 lead in the second on solo shots by Gonzalez and Schoop, although Giolito fanned the three other Minnesota batters in the inning.
Gonzalez led off by lofting a 1-2 pitch into the right-field stands for his 15th homer. With two outs, Schoop hit an 0-1 pitch deep to left for his 19th.
Anderson’s homer to right-center leading off the fourth was the Sox’s first hit and cut it to 2-1.
Jorge Polanco, Nelson Cruz and Rosario line three straight singles in the eighth to make it 3-1.
Kepler pinch hit in the eighth and flew out, but got nearly two days of rest. “[Kepler] has been playing center field pretty much every day for us, DHed I believe one day” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We decided to give him back-to-back with the day off yesterday and today.”
Minnesota recalled right-hander Randy Dobnak from Triple-A Rochester and optioned lefty Lewis Thorpe to the farm club before the game.
Twins: Rosario started in left field after missing three games with right hamstring tightness. .. Baldelli said outfielder Byron Buxton’s Single-A rehab assignment at Single-A Cedar Rapids was suspended after he felt pain in his injured left shoulder during batting practice. Buxton, who has been out since Aug. 1, will be re-evaluated.
Sox: Outfielder Eloy Jiménez returned to left field after serving as the designated hitter for two games as he eased back in to the lineup with a sore right hip flexor. ... infielder/outfielder Leury Garcia started in right after being hit with a pitch in the left shin and leaving Sunday’s game versus Texas.
Twins righty Jake Odorizzi (13-6, 3.57) faces Sox lefty Ross Detwiler (2-3, 5.51) on Wednesday night.