Kepler lifts Twins over White Sox 6-5 for team’s first 9-game win streak in 16 years | The Mighty 790 KFGO

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AP Photo Erin Hooley

BY ANDREW SELIGMAN

CHICAGO — Max Kepler drove in the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning for the second straight game, this time with a sacrifice fly, and the Minnesota Twins won their ninth in a row, 6-5 over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

The Twins extended their longest win streak since a 10-game run in June 2008. They also won their seventh in a row against the White Sox and put themselves in position to sweep Chicago again after taking four games at Target Field last week, though this one certainly wasn’t easy.

“Pretty tough bunch of guys,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I don’t feel like we’re one dimensional or two dimensional. I feel like we can win games in all the ways. …It’s fun to watch from the dugout right now.”

Chicago’s Andrew Benintendi homered leading off the eighth to tie it at 5 after Minnesota scored twice in the top half. But the Twins pulled it out in the ninth.

Byron Buxton walked leading off against Kopech (0-3) and took third on Manuel Margot’s one-out single. Kepler, who hit a tiebreaking single in Monday’s 3-2 win, then put Minnesota on top with a sacrifice fly to center.

Jhoan Duran pitched around a leadoff single by Tommy Pham in the bottom half and picked up the save after missing the Twins’ first 28 games because of a strained right oblique muscle. Caleb Thielbar (1-1) recorded the final two outs in the eighth.

“When we were struggling at the beginning of the year, you almost felt like we could never come back and win games like that,” said Carlos Correa, who hit an RBI single and scored in the eighth. “To be able to just bounce back, put some runs on the board, put some good at-bats together, play the way that we played — it shows a lot about where our confidence level is at, where we stand as a team and …the resilience.”

The Twins didn’t get a hit until the fifth, when they scored twice and chased White Sox starter Michael Soroka.

Danny Mendick gave Chicago a 4-2 lead with a two-run homer against reliever Kody Funderburk in the fifth inning.

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Ryan Jeffers swiped home for the Twins as part of a double steal in the sixth. Correa, in his second game back from a strained right rib cage muscle, hit an RBI single against Jordan Leasure in the eighth and scored on Trevor Larnach’s base hit to put Minnesota on top 5-4. But the Twins left the bases loaded when Kyle Farmer grounded into a force against Prelander Berroa.

Benintendi tied it when he led off against Cole Sands with his third homer. Mendick doubled, but Robbie Grossman struck out. Thielbar then retired Korey Lee on a pop fly and Nicky Lopez on a grounder.

The White Sox are a major league-worst 6-24 overall and 2-17 against the AL Central.

“I like what we are doing,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “I like the way we are playing. I like the energy. I like this is an area where we have to grow. “We have to find ways to win those ballgames.”

Chicago had 12 hits but was 2 for 11 with men in scoring position. The White Sox stranded nine runners.

Soroka gave up two runs and three hits in 4 1/3 innings. The right-hander has a 6.48 ERA through seven starts.

Minnesota’s Simeon Woods Richardson went 3 2/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and seven hits. The 23-year-old right-hander threw 81 pitches in his fourth career start and third this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: Duran was reinstated from the 15-day injured list prior to the game. He was hurt while warming up for a live batting practice session in spring training on March 17.

UP NEXT

The three-game series wraps up with RHP Bailey Ober (2-1, 4.21 ERA) pitching for Minnesota and RHP Chris Flexen (1-3, 5.11) getting the ball for Chicago. Ober has a 1.48 ERA in four starts since getting pounded in a loss at Kansas City on March 31. Flexen threw five scoreless innings in a win over Tampa Bay last week.

*Associated Press

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