Joe Mauer just missed his third home run of the season Saturday. These days, he will gladly settle for a double. A timely two-run double, no less.
Mauer recorded his second multi-RBI game in three days, the latest propelling the Twins over the White Sox again, this time 4-3 before an announced 32,647 at Target Field.
The double came in the fifth inning off Chicago starter Andre Rienzo. Mauer stroked a 3-2 pitch off the left-field wall, inches away from landing in the bushes. The drive scored Danny Santana and Brian Dozier to give the Twins their first lead at 3-2. Mauer, who ended an 18-game streak without an RBI on Tuesday, has four hits in his past five at-bats with runners in scoring position.
“I thought [it was a home run], but I’m kind of getting used to that,” said Mauer, who served as the designated hitter Saturday. “I hit it pretty good. I thought it had a chance to go, but I’m just glad he couldn’t catch it and we were able to score a couple of runs.”
Mauer, still hitting a career-worst .257, has four multi-RBI games this season. His four RBI this series equals what he had in the previous 32 games dating to May 14.
“Once you start feeling better about yourself, who knows what’s going to happen,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He could take off with the best of them. He’s a big part of this offense. We need him to do those things, and we’ll start winning more ballgames when he does.”
The two-run double was part of a three-run fifth inning that also included Kendrys Morales’ RBI single, which scored Mauer and ended an 0-for-21 slump.
Kevin Correia and the Twins bullpen held on to the lead from there. Correia (4-8) didn’t have his best stuff, but he limited Chicago to two runs (one earned) on five hits in six innings.
The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out RBI single from Jose Abreu off the scoreboard in right-center field. They scored another run in the second when Correia drilled Gordon Beckham with the bases loaded and two outs.
In the next four innings, Correia gave up only two hits. He has lasted six innings in each of his past three starts, giving up only two earned runs in that stretch.
“I think I just had a better handle on what I had and what I didn’t have,” Correia said. “My curveball felt pretty good, and I went with that a little bit more. My fastball really wasn’t going exactly where I wanted it to. I kind of missed a few spots a little more than I normally would’ve.”
The White Sox went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position while stranding 11 on base, the 14th time this season they have left at least 10 runners on.
Closer Glen Perkins, a day after blowing a two-run lead in Friday’s 5-4 victory, gave up a run but struck out Abreu and Adam Dunn to record his 19th save of the season, leaving the Twins with an opportunity for a four-game sweep Sunday.