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Updated: August 31st, 2011 3:52pm
Twins Daily: First-inning offensive barrage sets tone in win over Sox

Twins Daily: First-inning offensive barrage sets tone in win over Sox

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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A six-run first inning combined with a solid outing by Scott Diamond was enough for the Minnesota Twins to hold off the Chicago White Sox and avoid a sixth consecutive loss to their division rival on Wednesday.

The skinny

The Twins strung together five extra-base hits in the first inning off Jake Peavy, including two-run homers by Jason Kubel and Luke Hughes to jump out to a 6-0 lead Tuesday.

That cushion was plenty for Diamond, who allowed three earned runs on three hits and three walks in six innings in the third start of his major league career. Diamond struck out five and threw 87 pitches before he was relieved by Matt Capps and Glen Perkins.

The White Sox cut the lead to 6-2 on a two-run homer by Brent Lillibridge, then scored again in the sixth inning on an RBI double by Paul Konerko.

Jason Repko added a solo home run for the Twins in the seventh to make it 7-3.

Alex Rios singled home a run in the eighth off Perkins to cut the lead to 7-4, but Chicago's threat ended on a lineout by Tyler Flowers to third baseman Danny Valencia.

The White Sox made another charge in the ninth when Paul Konerko poked a two-RBI single to right field off Joe Nathan to cut the lead to 7-6, but the Twins' closer struck out Rios to end the game.

Peavy eventually settled down to complete five innings, allowing six earned runs on eight hits, striking out four while walking nobody.

Turning point

The first-inning barrage started with three consecutive one-out doubles by Trevor Plouffe, Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer that put the Twins up 2-0.

Kubel's blast to left field made it 4-0, and three batters later Hughes delivered a two-out, two-run bomb to left-center to give the Twins a 6-0 lead.

Heading into the game, the Twins had scored 75 first-inning runs this season -- far fewer than the league-leading 132 first-inning runs they scored in 2010.

Numbers game

38: The number of times, in 136 games, that the Twins have scored six runs or more in a game this season.

7: Home runs for Hughes this season, including four in his last five games.

.707: Plouffe's OPS after going 2-for-4 with a double. That OPS ranks fourth on the team, just behind Mauer (.713).

1: Career wins for Diamond.

12: Saves for Nathan.

7-21: The Twins' record in August.

Health report

• SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka sat out Wednesday with general soreness, per the Twins Radio Network.

• 1B Justin Morneau remained sidelined with mild concussion symptoms.

On deck

The Twins have an off day Thursday before starting a three-game series with the Angels in Los Angeles on Friday.

Coming up

• Friday: @ LA Angels, 9:05 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (6-11, 4.62) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (15-7, 2.28)
• Saturday: @ LA Angels, 8:05 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (9-13, 5.09) vs. RHP Joel Pineiro (5-6, 5.33)
• Sunday: @ LA Angels, 2:35 p.m. RHP Kevin Slowey (0-3, 5.91) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (2-0, 4.96)

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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