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Updated: July 30th, 2012 10:24pm
First-inning comeback leads to ninth-inning walk-off win for Twins

First-inning comeback leads to ninth-inning walk-off win for Twins

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Jamey Carroll delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Minnesota Twins a 7-6 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night at Target Field.

The skinny

Carroll hasn't made much noise with his bat this season, but he came through in the clutch on Monday night.

Carroll's sac fly to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning off Brett Myers scored Alexi Casilla from third base, giving the Twins their fourth walk-off win of the season. White Sox right fielder Alex Rios has a cannon arm, but his throw sailed up the third-base line.

"With two strikes I was just trying to find a way to put it in play," said Carroll, who also singled and made a fantastic back-handed play on defense. "With the infield in you feel like you have a better chance to push it past them, but fortunately I got enough on it for Alexi to score."

Coming off an oblique injury that sidelined him for a handful of games, former Twins catcher A.J. Pierzynski gave the White Sox an 4-0 early lead with a towering three-run homer to right field off Cole De Vries in the top of the first inning.

The Twins answered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning against left-hander Jose Quintana, courtesy of RBI singles by Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham and Danny Valencia, and an RBI groundout by Ryan Doumit.

The Twins added two more runs in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI single by Doumit and a sac fly by Valencia.

Alejandro De Aza's RBI single in the fourth brought Chicago back to within one, 6-5.

De Aza tied the game in the eighth with a two-out RBI single off Jared Burton.

De Vries managed to settle down after getting roughed up in the first inning, albeit he did have a considerable amount of help from his defenders. He lasted five innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and a walk while striking out three.

"He was up (in the zone) pretty much all night long, and he got through five innings," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "(Pitching coach Rick Anderson) and I talked about that after the fourth, whether we should send him back out, but he's earned that. We've given up a couple of his wins that we thought he deserved, so he deserved a chance to go back out."

Quintana managed to go seven innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on 10 hits and a walk while striking out nobody.

In the top of the fifth inning, with the Twins leading by a run, Denard Span leaped up and robbed what likely would have been a two-run homer by Rios.

Fans gave Span a standing ovation, perhaps in part because they may have sensed it could have been the centerfielder's last game as a Twin with the trade deadline less than 24 hours away.

"I just got a good read on it," Span said. "Rios hit it high. Off the bat I thought it was going to be a no-doubter, but I just kept running, and I was able to kind of time it and just leap, let my athletic ability take over. ...

"I think the fans appreciated it more once they saw the replay... That was pretty special."

Span later robbed Pierzynski of a hit with a sliding catch on a sinking liner.

White Sox left fielder Dayan Viciedo robbed Joe Mauer of an extra-base hit in the bottom of the eighth inning with a leaping grab against the left-field wall.

Turning point

Brian Dozier's job in the ninth inning -- with nobody out and Casilla on first base -- was to drop down a sacrifice bunt.

His bunt was so good that catcher Pierzynski had to rush his throw. The ball wound up sailing into right field, putting runners in scoring position with nobody out.

Valencia started the rally with a leadoff single. He was lifted for pinch-runner Casilla. 

Numbers game

7: Career home runs for Pierzynski against the Twins.

72: The number of different batting orders used by Gardenhire this season.

.263: Morneau's batting average, which is at its highest point since mid-April.

34-32: The Twins record since May 16.

Health report

RHP Carl Pavano (shoulder) is scheduled to throw 40 pitches in a Gulf Coast League game on Aug. 2.

On deck

Tuesday: vs. White Sox, 7:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (4-6, 7.99) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (3-10, 5.31)
Wednesday: vs. White Sox, 12:10 p.m. LHP Scott Diamond (9-4, 2.88) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (8-7, 3.15)

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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