Nick Blackburn pitched eight strong innings, and Michael Cuddyer hit a second-inning homer Thursday, as the Twins defeated the White Sox 1-0 in a game that must have felt like another Opening Day for Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
It was Nishioka's Target Field debut, his first major league game as a shortstop and his first official game since he broke his left fibula on April 7 in New York.
Nishioka got tested early and often, as the White Sox hit 11 ground balls to him, including two in the first inning. Nishioka and second baseman Alexi Casilla turned two double plays behind Blackburn, and Nishioka's only error came on a sixth-inning grounder by Paul Konerko.
"I think it was a good test for me to have 11 grounders," Nishioka, a three-time winner of Japan's Gold Glove Award, said through an interpreter. "I had that one error, but Blackburn picked me up, so I thank him for that."
Blackburn outdueled Mark Buehrle and improved to 5-0 with a 2.29 ERA in his past nine starts.Lineup shuffle
Manager Ron Gardenhire surprised Nishioka by putting him in the No. 3 spot in the batting order, and last year's Japanese batting champion went 1-for-4 with an infield single and two strikeouts, leaving his average at .214.
Nishioka could be moved to the No. 9 spot on Friday, when Joe Mauer returns to the lineup.
"I think the 3 spot is for Joe [Mauer], so I kind of thought about wearing No. 7," Nishioka said.Roster moves
The Twins had to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for Mauer, who was on the 60-day disabled list, so they passed outfielder Brian Dinkelman through waivers and assigned him outright to Class AAA Rochester.
They also activated lefthanded reliever Glen Perkins from the 15-day disabled list, optioning Chuck James back to Rochester.
The moves left the Twins with three catchers -- Mauer, Drew Butera and Rene Rivera -- for the weekend interleague series against San Diego, but Gardenhire said one will come off the active roster before the team travels to San Francisco next week.Etc.
• Gardenhire said Joe Nathan (strained right flexor muscle) will be heading on a rehab assignment to Rochester.
• The Twins signed their second-round draft pick, former Eden Prairie High School and University of Oregon righthander Madison Boer.
|Boston - WP: M. Ott||4||FINAL|
|Minnesota - LP: M. Hoffman||3|
|Chicago WSox||6||Bottom 8th Inning|
|San Francisco||8:05 PM|
|Houston||8||1st Qtr 5:23|
|LA Lakers||8:30 PM|
|Phoenix||0||1st Prd 8:02|
|Buffalo||1||1st Prd 7:14|
|San Jose||1||1st Prd 8:49|
|NY Rangers||7:00 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara||38|
|San Diego St||73|
|Utah Valley U||83|
|Colorado||59||2nd Half 0:06|
|Cal State Fullerton||53||2nd Half 1:08|
|Long Beach State||66|
|Idaho||68||2nd Half 1:23|
|Wyoming||62||2nd Half 0:39|
|Florida A&M||43||2nd Half 10:54|
|Nicholls||56||2nd Half 7:04|
|Penn State||25||2nd Half|
|Northern Colorado||39||2nd Half|
|Troy||18||1st Half 7:24|
|UCF||14||1st Half 8:30|
|DePaul||15||1st Half 7:58|
|Alabama||13||1st Half 11:21|
|Miami-Florida||8||1st Half 9:38|
|Baylor||20||1st Half 10:32|
|Savannah State||7:00 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||7:00 PM|
|Oral Roberts||7:30 PM|
|Sam Houston St|
|Alabama A&M||8:00 PM|
|Eastern Mich||8:00 PM|
|UC Riverside||8:00 PM|
|Georgia Tech||8:00 PM|
|Rhode Island||8:00 PM|
|Portland State||8:00 PM|
|Fresno State||8:00 PM|
|Miss State||8:25 PM|
|West Virginia||8:30 PM|
|Boise State||10:30 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|Miss Valley St||68||FINAL|
|(22) Middle Tennessee||69|
|William & Mary||65|
|Montana State||46||2nd Half 8:03|
|Alabama State||28||2nd Half|
|Louisiana Tech||13||1st Half 7:45|
|Southern Ill||7:07 PM|
|Idaho State||7:30 PM|
|Old Dominion||8:30 PM|