CHICAGO (AP) — Even with three power-hitting regulars out of the lineup, the Minnesota Twins found a way to keep on slugging.
Jake Cave homered twice, C.J. Cron went deep and the surging Twins set a major league record for home runs on the road in a 10-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
Cave led off the third with drive off Dylan Cease to give Minnesota 139 homers away from home, eclipsing the mark of 138 set by San Francisco in 2001. Cron, the next hitter, followed with a homer to center.
Cave added a shot in the seventh for his second career multi-homer game, increasing the Twins’ overall total to 261. The record for homers in a season, 267, was set last year by the New York Yankees.
Cave was in center field in place of Max Kepler, who leads the Twins with 35 homers and was one of three regulars out with minor injuries.
“I just think hitting is contagious and that goes with the homers as well,” said Cave, who has seven this season. “We were missing some really good players out there.”
Kepler didn’t start for a third straight game as he rests a sore right knee. Miguel Sanó, who has 26 homers, wasn’t in the lineup because of right forearm tightness after being hit by a pitch on Wednesday and a gastrointestinal issue. Marwin González, who has gone deep 15 times, missed his second game with an abdominal/oblique strain.
It didn’t matter for AL Central-leading Minnesota, which won its fifth straight.
“I still I think we had a great lineup out there,” Cave said. “I just think that goes to show how dangerous we are.”
Manager Rocco Baldelli said he doesn’t need to force top players into the lineup when they at less than 100%.
“Almost every person in our lineup has been down at some point this year,” Baldelli said. “Every single guy that we’ve turned to to fill in those spots has produced, and the production has been there up and down the lineup and well into our bench.”
Cron doubled and had three RBIs in a three-hit afternoon, and Nelson Cruz drove in in three runs. In sweeping a three-game series with sliding Chicago, Minnesota (82-51) moved to 31 games above .500 for the first time since September 2010.
Cave and Cron’s back-to-back homers increased Minnesota’s lead to 8-0 after the Twins had used eight singles and a walk off Cease (3-7) to pull ahead 6-0 after two innings.
Staked to an early lead, José Berrios (11-7) cruised to his first victory in nearly a month. The All-Star right-hander allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out eight in six innings. In four previous starts, Berrios was 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA.
José Abreu had four hits for the White Sox, who fell behind early as Cease struggled in his 10th major league start. The rookie allowed eight runs on 10 hits and walk in two-plus innings.
Manager Rick Renteria said Cease’s stuff was fine, but he wasn’t locating pitches effectively. Cease agreed.
“The stuff was there,” Cease said. “If I execute pitches better, it’s better results.”
The Twins jumped ahead 4-0 in the first. Cruz knocked in two more runs with a single to center in the second.
Chicago scored twice in the ninth of Randy Dobnak, who pitched the final three innings for his first save.
Twins: Both Kepler and Sanó were available off the bench. Baldelli said he wanted to be more cautious with González. “If there’s anything we do to set him back, that would be a big mistake on our end,” he said. … Byron Buxton (left shoulder), who rejoined the team after his Class A rehab stint was halted, is taking part in limited baseball activities. General manager Thad Levine said the goal is to “stabilize and strengthen” Buxton’s shoulder and there’s no timetable for his return.
White Sox: SS Tim Anderson, who leads the majors with 24 errors, got the day off. “I think he’s fatigued a little bit and we just want to make sure when we get him back out there that he’s ready to go,” Renteria said.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (12-6, 4.49 ERA) faces Tigers RHP Edwin Jackson (3-7, 8.70) on Friday at Detroit.
White Sox: RHP Iván Nova (9-10, 4.37) takes the mound against the Braves’ Max Fried (14-4, 4.03) in Atlanta on Friday. The NL East leaders have won Fried’s last seven starts, and he’s 5-0 with a 3.35 ERA in that span.
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