Updated: July 10th, 2011 4:12pm
Twins Daily: Swarzak solid as Twins continue dominance over White Sox

Twins Daily: Swarzak solid as Twins continue dominance over White Sox

by Phil Mackey
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CHICAGO -- Another solid spot start by Anthony Swarzak set the tone for a 6-3 win at U.S. Cellular Field -- the Minnesota Twins' seventh win in eight games against the Chicago White Sox this season.

The skinny

Looking to end a tumultuous first half of the season on a high note, the Twins offense touched up Jake Peavy for five earned runs on 10 hits and two walks, knocking the right-hander out after only 4 1/3 innings.

Every Twins hitter reached base at least one time, and eight Twins hitters tallied at least one hit, including two each by Ben Revere, Alexi Casilla, Michael Cuddyer, Rene Tosoni and Jason Repko.

Swarzak threw 92 pitches over six innings, allowing only one earned run on four hits and two walks while striking out five. This was the third time in four starts Swarzak has allowed two earned runs or fewer while pitching at least six innings.

"That's such a good lineup over there, I was getting ready to invent a pitch out there in that sixth inning," said Swarzak, who struck out Carlos Quentin after running into trouble in the sixth.

"I tried to throw all four pitches at them. I said off day coming up tomorrow, and the break and everything, just try to keep it quick, keep a good pace and throw the ball over, and that's what I did today."

Handed a 5-1 lead in the seventh, the bullpen made things interesting, as Alex Burnett gave up back-to-back RBI doubles to A.J. Pierzynski and Gordon Beckham, allowing the White Sox to pull within two runs.

But Perkins came in and recorded two quick outs to slam the door. He then pitched a scoreless eighth inning and passed the baton to closer Matt Capps, who finished the job in the ninth for the Twins (41-48). 

Turning point

For the second time this series, the bottom of the order came up clutch for the Twins.

With the game still scoreless, the fourth inning began with Cuddyer popping out and Danny Valencia striking out. But Tosoni and Tsuyoshi Nishioka each coaxed two-out walks against Peavy, and Drew Butera cashed in on a 1-2 breaking ball with a single to center, scoring Tosoni to put the Twins up 1-0.

The next batter, Repko, followed by sneaking a groundball down the left field line to score Nishioka.

Two innings later, it was Tosoni's check-swing base hit to left field that scored Joe Mauer from third to put the Twins up 4-0 -- a blow that knocked Peavy out of the game.

"Yeah, that was awesome, right?" Tosoni said. "He came after me with two fastballs. I didn't really expect that with guys at second and third, and he came in hard on me, and I honestly didn't expect him to throw the off-speed pitch. I was expecting another one hard inside, and lucked out and (a) check swing got it in the five hole."

Numbers game

31-8: The Twins' record against the White Sox since May 21, 2009. "You call it dominance, but it's a lot of one-run games, a lot of one- and two-run games, and anything can happen at the end," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So we're finding a way right now to get it done. That's a team that scores so many runs, and every time you have a lead on them, you never know how they can throw together a touchdown in a heartbeat, so you sit there nervous as all can be because they run so many hitters up there."

.291: Butera's batting average since May 20, including seven extra-base hits in 60 plate appearances.

5: Outs recorded by Perkins, who struck out two and allowed one hit. Perkins has pitched 10 times in the team's last 14 games.

15: Saves for Capps.


"We've at least got ourselves back, three or four feet under the water where we can actually see somebody up there on top of us."
-- Gardenhire, when asked about the team trying to claw back from being 20 games under .500.

"I kind of like him. He's a guy we've talked about, yes. There's a chance. We liked him when we had him up here before, and we've had a few struggles out there with a couple guys. It's something to talk about, absolutely ...
He can go lefty, righty, because he has a changeup. He's got a really nice changeup. He can cut the ball in on those lefties. We saw when he was up here, like I said, he did a pretty decent job for us."
-- Gardenhire, when asked about the possibility of left-hander Chuck James being called up soon. Gardenhire told 1500 ESPN on Sunday that he and pitching coach Rick Anderson will have a discussion over the All-Star break about what to do with lefty Jose Mijares. James could be a suitable replacement. James has struggled a little bit recently, but he owns a 2.25 ERA for Rochester with 48 strikeouts and 18 walks in 40 innings.

Health report

• OF Denard Span (concussion) will visit with doctors on Tuesday or Wednesday in hopes of being cleared to begin a rehab assignment. If he is cleared, Span would need 7-10 games of rehab, per Gardenhire, before he's activated. In all likelihood, if all goes according to schedule, Span could return in time for the July 21-24 series against the Tigers at Target Field.

• RHP Scott Baker (strained right flexor muscle) will throw a bullpen session after the All-Star break, assuming his status remains the same, and he is scheduled to start on July 18 against the Indians.

• OF Jason Kubel is "making progress," per Gardenhire, but remains limited with a sprained left foot. Kubel has been sidelined since late May with the ailment, and the team is hoping he can begin a rehab assignment by the end of the week. He will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break.

• DH Jim Thome has been bothered by a sore big toe lately, which may have assisted in his 0-for-4, four-strikeout performance on Saturday. Thome "wasn't able to push real good off his backside," Gardenhire said, but three days of rest should help considerably.

• OF Delmon Young (sprained ankle) hit a line-drive home run off the scoreboard in left field in his final rehab game for Triple-A Rochester on Sunday. He will likely be activated in time for Thursday's game against Kansas City when the Twins return from the All-Star break.

• RHP Kevin Slowey (abdominal strain) threw 4 2/3 innings for Rochester Sunday, allowing zero runs on four hits, a walk and a hit batter while striking out three. He threw 71 pitches (49 strikes) and will likely make one more rehab start before the Twins must decide whether to option him to Triple-A.

On deck

Off day (All-Star break).

Coming up

• Tuesday: All-Star break
• Wednesday: All-Star break
• Thursday: vs. Kansas City, 7:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (5-7, 5.06) vs. LHP Bruce Chen (5-2, 3.26).

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