have often pestered the
Chicago White Sox
with their small-ball style.
Their bunting success has dropped off drastically this season, but the Twins went back to old ways and beat the
to begin an important series.
's two-out single snapped a seventh-inning tie, and
and the Twins hung on for a 6-4 victory over the
on Friday night.
After being swept during the week by the
New York Yankees
, third-place Minnesota stayed four games behind the
in the AL Central race. The
are 3 1/2 games back.
Mauer drove in
, who started with a walk against
(1-3) and moved up on a sacrifice by
and a stolen base. In the eighth,
stole third and scored on a perfect two-out bunt by
''They can do a lot of good things,'' said
, who was so famously frustrated by the Twins' contact hitters he started calling them ''The Piranhas'' for their pesky yet
Gomez set a Minnesota record last year with 30 bunt hits, but this year with less playing time and opposing third basemen
frequently playing in he hasn't made much of an impact with that weapon at all.
It's not just him. Manager
and his coaches have been trying to get the other speed-based players in the lineup to bunt more, but with little success.
''Make things happen,'' Gardenhire said.
Gomez, who raised his average to .222, was asked if he'd be more intentional about bunting in the second half.
''It depends on what kind of situation. ... I don't want to drop a bunt when everybody plays 3 feet away in the grass,'' he
Blackburn (8-4) went seven innings despite an absence of his best stuff.
''I was all over the place,'' he said.
were perfect in the eighth and ninth, though; Nathan notched his 23rd save and gave Minnesota nine wins in the last 10 meetings
against Chicago at the Metrodome.
''So? I couldn't care less,'' said
catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who had three hits against his original team. ''Tomorrow's a new day. We can lose 100 in a row, but
the next day is always a chance to win.''
The Twins took a 4-0 lead against Chicago starter
in the first inning, but let the
come back to tie it. This was not close to the duel Blackburn and Danks produced on that crisp night in Chicago last September
topped the Twins 1-0 to win the AL Central tiebreaker game and move on to the playoffs.
After giving up only 22 hits and six runs over 35 2-3 innings in his previous five starts, Danks walked the first four batters
he faced before a two-run double by
and an RBI single by
stretched the lead to 4-0.
''It's the first time I've ever walked four in a row,'' Danks said. ''Little League. High school. You name it.''
Cuddyer was too casual with his lead at first base, though, and he gave Danks his first out by getting picked off. The lefty
quickly ended the inning and allowed just two hits and a walk during the rest of his outing - which lasted 5 2-3 innings.
''He saved the bullpen. He deserves a lot of credit for what he was able to do,'' Pierzynski said, praising Danks.
Pierzynski was in the middle of nearly every rally with a single and a pair of doubles. The second one put runners at second
and third with no outs in the sixth, but Cuddyer made a leaping catch against the wall in right field to hold
- who had two RBIs - to a sacrifice fly. Slick stops by
on sharp grounders made the next two outs.
''He didn't have his greatest stuff, but it's about grinding it out and getting deep in the game,'' Gardenhire said.
NOTES: Guillen said struggling LH
will remain in the rotation after the All-Star break, because there aren't any alternatives for now. The
are waiting for
to complete his rehab assignment, and
is also working his way back in the minors. ... Twins LH
is finally feeling better and will start on Saturday, three days after he fell ill. Perkins is also slated to take the mound
next Friday in Texas, when the rotation is reset to start the second half.