MINNEAPOLIS – Rookie Aaron Hicks hit two home runs and made a leaping catch in center field to take a home run away from Adam Dunn in the Minnesota Twins’ 10-3 win over the White Sox on Monday night.
Justin Morneau extended his hitting streak to nine games with three hits and four RBIs, including a bases-clearing double that capped the scoring in the eighth.
Hicks, who missed the previous two games because of a sore right elbow, led off the fourth inning with a 416-foot solo homer that bounced in front of the black batter’s eye in center field and gave the Twins a 5-2 lead.
With a runner on third and the Twins holding onto a 5-3 lead in the sixth, Dunn drove a pitch from reliever Josh Roenicke deep to center that appeared to be headed for the same spot Hicks’ blast landed. However, the Twins’ rookie sprinted back, leaped high, and caught the ball above the wall, falling to the ground and grinning as he opened his glove to show the ball to the umpire.
After getting congratulated by teammates jogging off the field, Hicks hit his second home run in the bottom of the sixth, this one landing in the bullpen in left-center.
Dunn and Hicks entered the game tied for the lowest batting average in baseball (.137) among qualifiers. When the night was over, Hicks’ average was .152 and Dunn’s .133.
Twins starter Pedro Hernandez (2-0) allowed three runs on six hits in 5 1-3 innings. The left-hander, who came to the Twins in a trade with the Sox for Francisco Liriano, retired 14 of the next 15 batters he faced after giving up two runs in the first inning.
Alex Rios had two RBIs for the Sox, who are last in the American League in batting average and runs scored. Alejandro De Aza and Alexei Ramirez each had three hits.
Hector Santiago (1-2) allowed six runs – three earned – on eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. He had only allowed one earned run in his previous two starts.
The Twins loaded the bases with nobody out and took advantage of Ramirez’s error at shortstop to score four runs in the third. The inning was capped by Trevor Plouffe’s two-run double.
The Sox loaded the bases against Jared Burton in the eighth, but pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie grounded out to first.
Notes: Sox LHP Chris Sale, who threw a one-hit shutout in Sunday’s win against Los Angeles, woke up in pain with an abscessed tooth that needed to be pulled. Manager Robin Ventura said that won’t affect Sale’s next start, a rematch on the road against the Angels. ... Sox LHP John Danks gave up three runs in six innings Sunday in a rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte. Recovering from shoulder surgery in August, Danks will make at least one more start in the minors, Ventura said. ... Twins SS Pedro Florimon, who missed all three games of the series over the weekend against Baltimore because of a tight right hamstring, returned to the lineup.
Kevin Correia (4-2) face Jake Peavy (4-1) on Tuesday in the second game of this three-game series.