Twins 10, White Sox 6

MINNEAPOLIS — As Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire stormed off the field following his latest ejection, he punted his cap high over his head and back onto the turf. The emotional exit fired up his Twins and sparked them to a four-run inning. But it also ignited the Metrodome crowd to nasty results. Jason Kubel‘s three-run homer highlighted an unruly seventh inning in the Twins’ 10-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night. The game was stopped for several minutes when fans threw hats and baseballs onto the turf and had the White Sox running for the shelter of the dugout. “I don’t like to see the game get stopped because of something like that,” Gardenhire said. “I can’t control it. What am I going to do? But my reaction out there led to something and I don’t like it. I felt bad.” Marty Foster tossed him in the seventh for arguing a called strike on Denard Span, and fans responded by tossing dozens of hats, and several baseballs, onto the field. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen quickly pulled his players off the field, and the public address announcer warned the announced crowd of 31,493 that the Twins were risking a forfeit if the behavior continued. “I don’t want anybody to get hurt,” Guillen said. “I think the umpires did a good job taking control of the situation. I wasn’t worried about hats, but I saw a couple balls flying on to the field and thought it was a dangerous situation.” The fans settled down after about five minutes, and the Twins had a four-run inning to erase a 4-3 deficit. Joe Mauer tied the game with an RBI single and Kubel followed with his homer off Octavio Dotel for a 7-4 lead. “There were some things we don’t want to see. People throwing things on the field, all that kind of stuff,” Minnesota’s Justin Morneau said. “It almost cost us the game. It was good that it stopped, but everyone was on their feet, yelling and cheering. It kind of sparked us.” Jermaine Dye hit a two-run homer off Matt Guerrier in the eighth, but the Twins tacked on three runs in the bottom of the inning. Morneau hit a three-run homer and Brendan Harris added two doubles for the Twins, who took three of four from the White Sox and trail first-place Chicago by a half-game in the AL Central. “If this is how fun it’s going to be, we have a lot to look forward to,” Kubel said. Jesse Crain (4-2) threw one inning of scoreless relief for the win. Jim Thome hit his 527th career homer to give the Sox a 2-0 lead in the second and A.J. Pierzynski‘s two-run single made it 4-0 in the fifth. But Matt Thornton (4-3) and Dotel couldn’t back up starter John Danks, allowing the Twins (60-48) to pull even with the Sox (60-47) in the win column. “I walked to the field like six times, and all six times I was wrong,” Guillen said. “Bullpen makes a good manager, and today I was pretty bad. I was making the wrong decision every time I went to the field.” The rally started after the shenanigans, when Danks lost a 1-2 count on Span by walking him. “I don’t want to get myself in trouble, but it’s just one of those things I’ve never been a part of,” Danks said. “It was a little disappointing to be out there with a 1-2 count on a guy and to have to come and sit, but I’m not going to use it as an excuse. I ended up walking him.” Help is on the way for Chicago. Wheeling-and-dealing general manager Kenny Williams pulled off yet another aggressive trade at the deadline, sending reliever Nick Masset and Triple-A infielder Danny Richar to Cincinnati for Ken Griffey Jr. The White Sox plan to play Griffey in center field, hoping they can squeeze at least two more months out of his 38-year-old legs, and a few more homers to his career total of 608. While Williams stayed true to his form by making a deal, Twins general manager Bill Smith also followed franchise protocol by not trading promising youngsters for rental players that would help them win now. Instead the Twins will hope that the eventual returns of Michael Cuddyer and Francisco Liriano will be enough to put them back into the playoffs after missing last season. Game notes
Guillen gave slumping 1B Paul Konerko the night off, and there could be many more of those on the way with the addition of Griffey. … RHP Jose Contreras will throw five innings or 75 pitches for Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday. If all goes well, Guillen said he will pitch in Boston next weekend. … Chicago 3B Joe Crede will start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. … Twins 2B Alexi Casilla had his injured finger put in a splint and the team will wait a week before deciding if he needs season-ending surgery.

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