Nelson Cruz hit three of Minnesota’s five homers and finished with five RBIs, helping the AL Central-leading Twins beat the slumping Chicago White Sox 10-3 on Thursday night.
Cruz hit a solo drive in the first, a two-run shot in the third and another two-run homer in the fifth. He struck out swinging for the final out of the sixth, and then flied out to right leading off the ninth.
It was the first three-homer game for the six-time All-Star, who has 385 home runs in his career. He became the 10th player in big league history with a three-homer game after turning 39, according to Baseball Prospectus, joining a list that includes Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Frank Thomas and Álex Rodríguez.
Max Kepler and Miguel Sanó also connected as Minnesota (62-40) totaled at least five homers for a major league-record ninth time this season, according to STATS. José Berríos (9-5) pitched seven effective innings for his first win since June 6.
The White Sox (45-55) lost for the 11th time in 14 games since the All-Star break and dropped 10 games below .500 for the first time this season. Yoán Moncada hit his 19th homer, but All-Star Lucas Giolito (11-5) was hit hard by Cruz and company.
Cruz, who signed a $14.3 million, one-year contract with Minnesota in January, has six homers in his last four games and 25 overall this season. According to STATS, he is the oldest player in major league history to hit six-plus homers in a four-game span, surpassing Barry Bonds, who hit seven in four games at age 36 in 2001.
Cruz’s outburst followed three-homer games by New York Mets second baseman Robinson Canó on Tuesday night and St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong on Wednesday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s the first time in major league history there’s been a three-homer game on three consecutive days.
Giolito (11-5) allowed seven runs and seven hits in five innings, dropping to 0-3 in four July starts.
After Giolito departed, Sanó hit a two-run shot off Jimmy Cordero in the sixth, and Jorge Polanco added an RBI single.
Twins: OF Byron Buxton (concussion symptoms) doubled twice in four at-bats in his return from an 11-day absence, the result of a collision with a wall at Cleveland on July 13. He also had three wisdom teeth extracted. “It’s one of those plays, where if it comes down to it and I had to do it again, I’d do it again,” said Buxton, who started in center field and batted ninth. “I’m going to be me.” OF Jake Cave was sent to Triple-A Rochester.
White Sox: SS Tim Anderson (sprained right ankle) singled and doubled in four at-bats with Triple-A Charlotte. He could return to the White Sox early next week. … OF Eloy Jiménez (bruised right elbow) accelerated his physical activity and might not require a minor league rehab stint, Renteria said.
Twins: RHP Michael Piñeda (6-5, 4.41 ERA) will take the ball in the second of the four-game set on Friday night.
White Sox: RHP Dylan Cease (1-2, 6.19 ERA) is set for his fourth career start.
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