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Updated: September 7th, 2011 9:56pm
Twins Daily: Valencia, Parmelee spark offense after long drought

Twins Daily: Valencia, Parmelee spark offense after long drought

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins broke a long offensive drought with a four-run third inning and held on to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4 at Target Field on Wednesday night.

The skinny

After getting blanked in two straight games, the Twins finally busted out for a crooked number in the bottom of the third inning Wednesday to help solidify a win over the White Sox.

Facing left-hander John Danks, the Twins put runners on first and second with one out courtesy of a walk by Drew Butera and a single by Ben Revere. The threat looked like it might fizzle like the rest of the Twins' threats over the past few games, but Joe Mauer was grazed by a pitch to load the bases for Danny Valencia, who blooped one in front of right fielder Alejandro De Aza for a two-run single.

"It's about time one of those kind of landed for us," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That was a good thing. We got something to land for us in a big situation."

Chris Parmelee, playing in his second career major league game, then drove in two with an RBI double to deep center field.

"Fortunately he's been in spring training with us," Gardenhire said of Parmelee, whose double helped negate a couple of his missed plays defensively on Wednesday night. "He's seen some major league pitching. I don't think he's in awe of it. I think it's just being able to control your emotions a little bit, and he seems to be doing that pretty well."

Danks left after six, having allowed five earned runs on six hits and two walks, and his counterpart Carl Pavano pitched four scoreless innings before running into trouble in the middle frames. Pavano gave up three runs (one earned) on 10 hits and a walk while striking out one in 5 1/3 innings, and he was once again the victim of some spotty defense.

"Tonight was just a battle," Pavano said. "After the last three games, three losses, it's nice to come back with a win."

The Twins tacked on a needed insurance run in the sixth when Luke Hughes scored all the way from first base after initially being nearly picked off by Danks. First baseman Konerko misfired into left field, and Hughes successfully tested the weak arm of left fielder Juan Pierre.

The White Sox put eight men on base between the sixth and eighth innings, but managed to score only two runs, cutting the lead to 5-4.

Joe Nathan pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 13th save. 

Turning point

Trailing 4-2 to start the top of the sixth inning, the White Sox knocked Pavano out of the game when Juan Pierre's double scored Omar Vizquel to cut the lead to one.

With runners on second and third and only one out, right-hander Alex Burnett came in and induced a weak tapper back to the mound off the bat of Alexei Ramirez. Burnett then intentionally walked Paul Konerko to load the bases, and Jose Mijares came in and induced an inning-ending groundball by A.J. Pierzynski.

"Huge," Gardenhire said. "I mean, it's the heart of their lineup. They came in there with some big pitches. ... I thought (Burnett) did a heck of a job getting the tapper back to the mound, and it was all about making pitches after that. Mijares did a heck of a job -- one pitch to A.J."

The White Sox had a chance to post a crooked number and take control of the game, but the Twins' bullpen locked it down.

Numbers game

0-for-24: The Twins' streak with runners in scoring position until Valencia's bloop single in the third.

20: Scoreless innings by the Twins' offense until Valencia's single.

1: Pitch thrown by Mijares.

2-8: The Twins' record against the White Sox in the last 10 meetings -- this after going 31-8 against Chicago since May of 2009.

Overheard

"It slammed me in the nail and then kind of skimmed my knuckle, but I've had worse. I'll be alright."
-- Pavano, showing off the blister-like scab on his thumb from being grazed by a comebacker.

"Or the line drive. That's a nice way to say it."
-- Pavano, correcting the reporter who used the term, "comebacker."

Health report

Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano and Brian Duensing are all schedule to throw off a mound on Thursday, and the team hopes all three could return to action before the end of the season.

• 1B Justin Morneau has not played since Aug. 28 due to experiencing mild concussion symptoms, but he took early batting practice on Wednesday and will travel with the team to Detroit this weekend if all goes well over the next two days.

• OF Denard Span (migraine/concussion symptoms) took batting practice Wednesday as well, but it's unknown if he'll be able to return this season. "The big thing is, it's not so much about how much you play, it's that he gets back out there and does a little bit, gets in a ballgame or two if that's possible," Gardenhire said. "If it's not possible for either (Span or Morneau), it's not possible. ... If it's possible, that's what we're going to try to do, at least get him on the field."

• 2B Alexi Casilla (pulled hamstring) will fly back to Minnesota from Fort Myers on Thursday and will be re-evaluated on Friday. Casilla has been running on a treadmill due to bad weather in Florida, but the team hopes he'll be able to return before the end of September.

• SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka will likely battle some oblique soreness until the end of the season, according to head athletic trainer Rick McWane, but he'll likely be re-inserted at shortstop on Friday in Detroit.

On deck

The Twins have an off day Thursday before traveling to Detroit for a three-game series beginning Friday.

Coming up

• Friday: @ Detroit, 6:05 p.m. RHP Kevin Slowey (0-4, 5.31) vs. RHP Brad Penny (9-10, 5.13)
• Saturday: @ Detroit, 3:10 p.m. RHP Anthony Swarzak (3-6, 3.95) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (14-8, 4.33)
• Sunday: @ Detroit, 12:05 p.m. LHP Scott Diamond (1-3, 4.56) vs. RHP Doug Fister (4-1, 2.64)

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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