Clutch hitting at center of Twins' emergence

Nearly flawless work from bullpen another key factor in run to AL Central lead

Clutch hitting at center of Twins' emergence

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have been one of the biggest surprises in the Majors this year, 28-18 and tied for the American League Central lead with the Royals after completing a three-game sweep of the Red Sox on Wednesday.

The Twins have won seven of their last eight series, 19 of their last 25 games and 12 of their last 14 home games. They bounced back from a 1-6 record and have been the hottest team in the Majors over the last month, as their 22-8 record since April 25 is the best in the Majors in that span.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Twins' milestones have significance

Twins' milestones have significance

Maybe all you need to know about the Minnesota Twins was on display in the bottom of the third inning Wednesday afternoon at Target Field. This would be the day the Twins would grab a share of first place in the American League Central, the day of another raucous clubhouse celebration after a 6-4 victory over the Red Sox. Sure, there's a long way to go, but for Minnesota, these small milestones have significance.

The Twins trailed the Red Sox, 2-0, in the bottom of the third inning, but they had the tying runs on base when veteran outfielder Torii Hunter stepped to the plate against Boston starter Rick Porcello.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins sweep Red Sox, tied for first place

Twins sweep Red Sox, tied for first place

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins completed a three-game sweep over the Red Sox with a 6-4 win powered by homers from Aaron Hicks and Eddie Rosario on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field. It marked the first sweep of Boston in Minnesota since 2006, and helped the Twins move into a tie for first place in the American League Central with the Royals at 28-18.

Right-hander Phil Hughes picked up the win for the Twins, allowing four runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings. He's now 4-0 in May after going 0-4 in April. Hughes was hurt by a pair of two-run homers from Dustin Pedroia, but was solid otherwise. After Minnesota used four relievers to record four outs, closer Glen Perkins shut the door in the ninth to improve to 18-for-18 in save opportunities.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins' offense firing on all cylinders

Twins' offense firing on all cylinders

MINNEAPOLIS -- A thicker-than-normal layer of fog enveloped the Twins' clubhouse Wednesday, evidence of the team's 6-4 victory over the Red Sox.

The victory, which clinched a sweep for the Twins, moved the team into a tie for first place in the American League Central for the first time since winning the division in 2010.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fien on schedule to return to Twins' bullpen

Fien on schedule to return to Twins' bullpen

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins' bullpen is set to get a boost, as reliever Casey Fien is nearing a return.

Fien, on the 15-day disabled list since April 30 with a right shoulder strain, tossed a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance with Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, and he is scheduled to make another appearance on Wednesday. It could be his final one before being activated from the 15-day disabled list, which would give the Twins another arm to a bullpen that's fared well this season.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins look to keep on rolling behind May

Twins look to keep on rolling behind May

Riding a five-game winning streak, the Twins will face a pair of Blue Jays who love hitting at Target Field when the two clubs begin a three-game set on Friday night.

Jose Bautista has made himself right at home at Target Field, hitting .356 in 66 plate appearances. He has also recorded 11 home runs in 14 games there. Bautista has had similar success against Twins pitching on the road, hitting a career .336 against Minnesota, the highest for him against any team except Detroit.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.TV unveils new Web-based media player

MLB.TV unveils new Web-based media player

Today's schedule starts with a White Sox-Orioles doubleheader that makes up the games that were postponed last month in Baltimore, and then a Corey Kluber-vs.-Nelson Cruz matchup that headlines six more games to follow. Along the way, you are about to have another one of those MLB.TV moments that make you realize how far we have come since the first live video broadcast stream by a major sports league in 2002.

Major League Baseball Advanced Media is introducing its new Web-based media player (version 5.0), for those who currently subscribe or those who sign up now for MLB.TV Premium ($114.99 a year or $24.99 a month) or regular MLB.TV ($94.99/$19.99). You'll notice the difference right away as the HD media player has an in-page layout, so it all happens in your browser with no need for an additional download.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Early runs, 'pen support Pelfrey's strong start

Early runs, 'pen support Pelfrey's strong start

MINNEAPOLIS -- Strong starting pitching and early offensive bursts have defined the Twins in May as they've shot up in the standings. Tuesday was no different for Minnesota, which used that formula to secure a 2-1 victory over the Red Sox at Target Field.

Following an 81-minute rain delay before the first pitch, three first-inning doubles provided enough offense for Twins starter Mike Pelfrey, who pitched seven innings and gave up just one run for his second consecutive quality start. Closer Glen Perkins came on in the eighth, worked out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam and nailed down a four-out save to secure the series victory.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins could use push in All-Star balloting

Dozier, Plouffe and Hunter enjoying solid first halves along with rest of club

Twins could use push in All-Star balloting

MINNEAPOLIS -- Despite entering Tuesday eight games above .500 at 26-18, the Twins didn't have any players among the leading vote-getters for the 2015 All-Star Game, according to the first American League ballot update.

Twins second baseman Brian Dozier and third baseman Trevor Plouffe are both off to impressive starts, but aren't among the top five at their positions, while right fielder Torii Hunter is also having a strong season, but doesn't rank among the Top 15 outfielders. Fans can cast their votes using the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pelfrey's sinker-splitter combo stifles Red Sox

Twins righty continues impressive campaign with seven innings of one-run ball

Pelfrey's sinker-splitter combo stifles Red Sox

MINNEAPOLIS -- Considering he wasn't even added to the rotation until Ervin Santana's 80-game suspension right before the start of the season, Mike Pelfrey's impressive start is one of the biggest surprises for the Twins this season.

Pelfrey kept it rolling against the Red Sox on Tuesday, giving up just one run on five hits over seven innings to help lead the Twins to a 2-1 win. Pelfrey improved to 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA overall and has a 2.29 ERA over his past eight outings.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Backed by six-run 2nd, Nolasco wins No. 100

Backed by six-run 2nd, Nolasco wins No. 100

MINNEAPOLIS -- Ricky Nolasco picked up career win No. 100 with a season-high 7 2/3 innings, and was backed by a six-run second inning from the Twins in a 7-2 win over the Red Sox on Monday afternoon at Target Field.

Nolasco retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced, and gave up two runs on six hits, while striking out five and walking none. The right-hander improved to 5-0 with a 3.77 ERA in five starts since missing nearly a month with right elbow inflammation. It helped the Twins improve to a season-high eight games above .500 at 26-18.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Statcast: Hicks motors to 21.4 mph on catch

Twins outfielder reaches amazing speed to make diving snag to rob Nava

Statcast: Hicks motors to 21.4 mph on catch

Imagine driving a car through center field at Target Field like you would through your neighborhood and seeing Aaron Hicks, glove in hand, pull up next to you.

Statcast™ reveals that Hicks does indeed emulate such a thing, with his impressive top speed to track down a ball against the Red Sox on Monday afternoon in Minnesota.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Offense keeps clicking with six-run second

Twins 19-6 when scoring first, which they've done in eight straight games

Offense keeps clicking with six-run second

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins just keep finding ways to score early, and it was again the case in a 7-2 win over the Red Sox on Monday at Target Field.

Minnesota knocked Boston right-hander Joe Kelly out of the game after just 1 1/3 innings, scoring six runs in the second inning. It marked the eighth straight game the Twins scored first, and they're 6-2 over that span. The Twins are 19-6 when they score before their opponent, and it's helped them to a surprising start with a 26-18 record that has them second in the American League Central.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nolasco savors career milestone

Twins righty sharp in notching 100th victory

Nolasco savors career milestone

MINNEAPOLIS -- Shortly after defeating the Red Sox on Monday, starter Ricky Nolasco was in the Twins' clubhouse dancing for his teammates.

And while Nolasco's dancing skills admittedly might not be up to par, the righty had plenty of success on the mound, giving up just two runs in 7 2/3 innings and securing his 100th career victory in Minnesota's 7-2 win.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fien, Arcia could return this week

Milone, Vargas thriving at Triple-A Rochester

Fien, Arcia could return this week

MINNEAPOLIS -- With reliever Casey Fien and outfielder Oswaldo Arcia on rehab assignments with Triple-A Rochester, and both left-hander Tommy Milone and designated hitter Kennys Vargas faring well there, Twins manager Paul Molitor said he's been in regular contact with general manager Terry Ryan about the roster.

Fien, on the DL since April 30 with a right shoulder strain, made his first rehab appearance Saturday, and is scheduled to pitch Tuesday and Wednesday. Arcia, who has been on the DL since May 4 with a right hip pointer strain, is with Rochester and is expected to play Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Both could return later this week.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins riding wave of momentum, confidence

After 4-1 road trip, club owns best record in May

Twins riding wave of momentum, confidence

CHICAGO -- The Twins just keep rolling.

Powered by two homers from Brian Dozier and eight solid innings from right-hander Kyle Gibson, the Twins earned a series win against the White Sox with an 8-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field. The Twins went 4-1 on their road trip through Pittsburgh and Chicago en route to an American League-best record of 15-6 in May.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Buxton, Kepler on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

Top phenom raised average 26 points, drove in eight runs

Buxton, Kepler on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

Reports of Byron Buxton's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dozier's 2 HRs power Twins past White Sox

Dozier's 2 HRs power Twins past White Sox

CHICAGO -- A four-run fourth inning was more than enough support for starter Kyle Gibson, as the Twins defeated the White Sox on Sunday, 8-1. Gibson worked eight innings and struck out eight -- tying a career high -- without a walk to cruise to the win.

Second baseman Brian Dozier hit two home runs and drove in four runs to pace the Twins, and right fielder Eddie Rosario added two hits and two RBIs.

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Greg Garno is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

May flowers in festive atmosphere

Righty fans 9 over 7 innings under unique circumstances

May flowers in festive atmosphere

CHICAGO -- With a sold-out crowd and a 3:40 p.m. CT start at U.S. Cellular Field because of Paul Konerko's jersey retirement ceremony, Twins right-hander Trevor May took advantage of the atmosphere and the shadows to outduel White Sox ace Chris Sale on Saturday.

May went a career-high seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits with a season-high nine strikeouts to help lead the Twins to a 4-3 win. May was efficient, as he didn't walk a batter and needed just 80 pitches to get through seven.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins ride May, HRs past White Sox

Twins ride May, HRs past White Sox

CHICAGO -- Minnesota starter Trevor May had never thrown more than five strikeouts this season, but on Saturday, he struck out nine to help the Twins beat the White Sox, 4-3. May went seven innings without a walk and allowed six hits to keep the White Sox offense at bay.

Chicago's offense left six men on base, unable to make up an early deficit in full after the third inning. The White Sox are averaging 2.33 runs in their last six games, four of which have been losses.

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Greg Garno is a contributor to MLB.com. Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fien, Arcia rehabbing with Triple-A Rochester

Decisions on reliever, outfielder to come later in the week

Fien, Arcia rehabbing with Triple-A Rochester

aCHICAGO -- Reliever Casey Fien tossed a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance with Triple-A Rochester on Saturday night, while outfielder Oswaldo Arcia joined Rochester to start a rehab assignment of his own on Sunday.

Fien, on the 15-day disabled list since April 30 with a right shoulder strain, walked a batter in his first rehab appearance but didn't allow a hit. The plan is for him to pitch in back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then the Twins will determine whether he's ready to be activated or if he needs more time at Triple-A, Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mauer gets a day off to rest

Started 40 of first 41 games; to play Sunday

Mauer gets a day off to rest

CHICAGO -- Twins first baseman Joe Mauer started 40 of the club's first 41 games, but he was held out of the lineup for the second time this season on Saturday against the White Sox.

Twins manager Paul Molitor said Mauer is healthy, but it was just a scheduled day off for Mauer to keep him fresh. Mauer is hitting .283/.339/.384 with a team-leading 25 RBIs in 40 games. He's fared well against White Sox lefty Chris Sale, hitting .296/.321/.370 with three RBIs in 27 at-bats, but was still held out of the lineup.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hughes shows signs he's regaining old form

Twins starter keeps it close, but offense goes into funk vs. Samardzija

Hughes shows signs he's regaining old form

CHICAGO -- Phil Hughes is starting to show signs that he's regaining his form from last season after a slow start, but he still came away unsatisfied after a 3-2 loss to the White Sox on Friday.

The right-hander gave up just two runs over seven innings for a second straight start, but was irked by a play he failed to make in the fourth. He couldn't field a slow roller from J.B. Shuck with two outs, and Geovany Soto followed with a game-tying, two-run double down the left-field line.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hughes sharp but bats go quiet vs. Samardzija

Hughes sharp but bats go quiet vs. Samardzija

Chicago -- Right fielder J.B. Shuck wasn't supposed to start Friday night, but his sacrifice fly to deep center in the eighth inning proved to be the go-ahead run in Chicago's 3-2 victory over the Indians.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura scratched right fielder Avisail Garcia with right knee inflammation after batting practice, replacing him with Shuck at the last minute. Shuck finished with two hits and a run scored on top of his sacrifice fly.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Greg Garno is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Top prospect Meyer to have stint in bullpen

Righty struggled as Triple-A starter with 7.09 ERA

Top prospect Meyer to have stint in bullpen

CHICAGO -- Top prospect Alex Meyer is headed to the bullpen at Triple-A Rochester, the Twins announced Friday.

Meyer, ranked as the No. 28 overall prospect by MLB.com, was struggling as a starter, posting a 7.09 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 24 walks in 39 1/3 innings. His walk rate of 5.5 batters per nine innings is a career worst.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stauffer activated from DL, rejoins Twins 'pen

Stauffer activated from DL, rejoins Twins 'pen

CHICAGO -- Reliever Tim Stauffer was officially activated from the 15-day disabled list before Friday's game against the White Sox, a day after infielder Doug Bernier was optioned to Triple-A Rochester.

Stauffer, who was out with a right intercostal strain since May 1, made four rehab appearances with Triple-A Rochester. He gave up three runs over five innings, including a pair of homers.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.