Plouffe's slam leads offensive burst to finish sweep

Plouffe's slam leads offensive burst to finish sweep

MINNEAPOLIS -- For the second straight season, the Twins swept a four-game series from the White Sox at Target Field by virtue of Sunday's 13-3 rout of the South Siders. Only six of Minnesota's runs were earned, with Chicago committing four errors during one of its roughest performances in an underachieving 2015 season. The Twins outscored the White Sox, 31-8, and during Chicago's five-game losing streak, it has been outscored, 39-10.

"Today, hats off to their club. They came out swinging and beat us," White Sox catcher Geovany Soto said. "When we go out there, it's, 'Today is the day it's going to change. Today is the day we're going to come out here and beat somebody and get the ball rolling.'"

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

Twins surpass .500 mark for first time in 2015

Hot-hitting, slick-fielding ballclub has won seven of its past nine games

Twins surpass .500 mark for first time in 2015

MINNEAPOLIS -- As Twins manager Paul Molitor puts it, having a .500 record is just a one-day event.

A team is either below it or above it after playing its next game, so Molitor said it's not something to be celebrated. But the Twins finally crept above .500 on Sunday with a 13-3 win over the White Sox to complete a four-game sweep at Target Field. They now have a winning record of 13-12 after starting out the season 1-6.

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

Pressly may step in as go-to long reliever

With Stauffer on DL and Milone in Minors, righty made strong debut

Pressly may step in as go-to long reliever

MINNEAPOLIS -- With right-hander Tim Stauffer on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right intercostal and left-hander Tommy Milone at Triple-A Rochester to remain a starter instead of moving to relief, the Twins are without a long reliever in their bullpen.

Even without a designated long reliever, manager Paul Molitor said he still always has a contingency plan before every game in case a pitcher leaves a game early due to injury or performance reasons.

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

Plouffe celebrates big day, tapes teammate's mouth up

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Plouffe celebrates big day, tapes teammate's mouth up

It seems like Trevor Plouffe had a pretty nice Sunday. The weather was warm, he got to spend some time outside, and oh -- he hit his first career grand slam. That third-inning homer started a Twins landslide that eventually led to their 13-3 victory over the White Sox. Obviously, this kind of day deserves celebration. So Plouffe, uh, taped Eduardo Escobar's mouth shut?

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Hughes, Twins welcome A's for four-game series

Hughes, Twins welcome A's for four-game series

Right-handers Jesse Hahn and Phil Hughes are set to square off on Monday for the start of a four-game series between the A's and Twins at Target Field. Hahn is off to a solid start to the year, posting a 2.86 ERA in four outings, while Hughes is still looking for his first win and has a 4.55 ERA in five starts.

Three things to watch for

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

Nolasco, 2 HRs have Twins back at .500

Nolasco, 2 HRs have Twins back at .500

MINNEAPOLIS -- Ricky Nolasco picked up the win in his return from the 15-day disabled list, backed by homers from Torii Hunter and Trevor Plouffe in a 5-3 victory over the White Sox on Saturday afternoon at Target Field.

Nolasco, who was out for nearly a month with inflammation in his right elbow, wasn't his sharpest, but he kept the Twins in the game. The right-hander went five innings, giving up three runs on eight hits, before he was removed for pitch-count reasons. Relievers Aaron Thompson, Blaine Boyer, Brian Duensing, Michael Tonkin and Glen Perkins combined to close it out for the Twins, who won their third straight to reach .500 for the first time this season at 12-12.

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

Slightly rusty Nolasco earns win in return

Slightly rusty Nolasco earns win in return

MINNEAPOLIS -- After missing nearly a month with inflammation in his right elbow, Ricky Nolasco was back on the mound on Saturday, and although he showed some signs of rust, he pitched well enough to keep Minnesota in the game and ultimately picked up the win in the Twins' 5-3 victory over the White Sox.

Nolasco, who made just one start before hitting the 15-day disabled list, allowed three runs on eight hits over five innings, but looked better as the day went along. He was lifted for pitch-count reasons after throwing 76, and said the biggest takeaway from his outing is that he felt healthy.

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

Molitor explains reason for Milone move

Molitor explains reason for Milone move

MINNEAPOLIS -- Manager Paul Molitor on Saturday explained the Twins' surprising decision to send left-hander Tommy Milone to Triple-A Rochester.

The Twins officially activated right-hander Ricky Nolasco (inflammation in right elbow) and left-hander Brian Duensing (strained right intercostal) from the 15-day disabled list before Saturday's game against the White Sox. To make room for them, the Twins optioned both Milone and left-handed reliever Caleb Thielbar to Triple-A after Friday's 1-0 win.

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

Gibson putting consistency issues to bed

Right-hander has 1.88 ERA over last four starts

Gibson putting consistency issues to bed

MINNEAPOLIS -- While Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson showed some signs of being a solid starter in his first full season in the Majors last year, he was still plagued by consistency issues.

Those issues showed up in his first start of the season against the Tigers, when he gave up six runs over just 3 2/3 innings on April 9, but he's been on a roll since. The sinkerballer was at it again on Friday night, as he tossed eight scoreless innings to lead the Twins to a 1-0 win over the White Sox.

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

Gibson directs shutout with 8 scoreless

Gibson directs shutout with 8 scoreless

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kyle Gibson outdueled lefty Jose Quintana, as the right-hander tossed eight scoreless innings to lead the Twins to a 1-0 win over the White Sox on Friday night at Target Field.

Gibson scattered just four hits and a walk with four strikeouts, including Jose Abreu swinging twice. He got out of a bases-loaded jam in the second by getting Tyler Flowers to ground into an inning-ending double play. He also ran into trouble into the seventh, with runners at the corners and two out, but he got J.B. Shuck to line out softly to third.

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

Intercostal strain lands Stauffer on DL

Twins recall right-hander Pressly from Triple-A Rochester

Intercostal strain lands Stauffer on DL

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins placed right-handed reliever Tim Stauffer on the 15-day disabled list with a right intercostal strain on Friday, and recalled right-handed reliever Ryan Pressly from Triple-A Rochester.

Stauffer has struggled early this season, posting an 8.38 ERA in eight appearances. He's struck out two and walked six in 9 2/3 innings. The 32-year-old also had a rough Spring Training (8.31 ERA in 13 innings), and he has seen his velocity dip compared to recent seasons. Stauffer's fastball has averaged 88.6 mph after averaging 91.7 mph in 2013 and 90.6 mph in '14, according to fangraphs.com.

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

Hughes cleared to start as Twins shuffle arms

Nolasco, Duensing to be activated Saturday; Milone, Thielbar sent to Triple-A

Hughes cleared to start as Twins shuffle arms

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins right-hander Phil Hughes, who left his start on Wednesday with a minor flexor strain in his left hip, threw a bullpen session with no issues on Friday and will make his next start on Monday against the A's.

Hughes left his outing after just five innings, as he said he felt tightness that worsened as the game went along. But Hughes was confident it was just a minor injury and after throwing his bullpen on Wednesday, he will make his scheduled start.

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

Offense busts out in unlikely rout of Sale

Lineup notches 9 hits, 8 earned runs on Chicago ace

Offense busts out in unlikely rout of Sale

MINNEAPOLIS -- After scoring 74 runs through their first 21 games, averaging just 3.5 runs per contest, the Twins have been looking for their offense to finally break out.

Minnesota finished seventh in the Majors in runs scored last year, but entered Thursday's game against the White Sox ranked 26th. And with ace Chris Sale on the mound, the Twins didn't appear likely to do much offensively in the series opener.

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

Twins nail Sale, drop Sox to take opener

Twins nail Sale, drop Sox to take opener

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins roughed up White Sox ace Chris Sale, who turned in one of the worst outings of his career, as Minnesota's offense broke out with a seven-run third inning in a 12-2 win on Thursday night at Target Field.

Sale, who entered with a 2.37 ERA, gave up nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits and two walks over just three innings. Sale had never given up nine runs in any of his previous 88 starts, and the eight earned runs tied a career-worst. It was also his shortest outing since also going three innings on May 27, 2014, against the Indians.

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

Buxton, Sano shine for Chattanooga

Twins' top two prospects excel in loss to Jacksonville

Buxton, Sano shine for Chattanooga

Thursday night's performance by the Twins' No. 1 and No. 2 prospects showed why Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are two of most highly touted players in the Minors. The Double-A Chattanooga stars both have had slow starts this season, but together they excelled in a 6-4 loss to Jacksonville.

Buxton, baseball's No. 1 overall prospect, was 2-for-4 with a triple, walk and two stolen bases. Down three runs in the sixth, Sano started a two-out rally with his fourth home run of the season. He was 1-for-3 with a walk. The Lookouts ended up tying the contest, 4-4, but fell behind again in the eighth.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nolasco set to return Saturday vs. White Sox

Twins righty to be activated from DL; Milone headed to 'pen

Nolasco set to return Saturday vs. White Sox

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Ricky Nolasco will be activated from the 15-day disabled list to start Saturday against the White Sox, and will replace left-hander Tommy Milone in the rotation. Milone will go to the bullpen in long relief.

The Twins are also monitoring right-hander Phil Hughes' progress after he left Wednesday's outing against the Tigers after five innings because of a minor left hip flexor strain. Hughes is slated to start on Monday against the A's, but if he can't go, Milone could make that start in his place. Hughes is optimistic he'll make his next start, but will have to throw a bullpen session this weekend without any issues before he's cleared.

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

Fien heads to disabled list as Twins recall Tonkin

Fien heads to disabled list as Twins recall Tonkin

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins placed right-handed reliever Casey Fien on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday with a right shoulder strain, and they recalled fellow right-handed reliever Michael Tonkin from Triple-A Rochester.

Fien sustained the injury while pitching in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 10-7 loss to the Tigers. He left the game in the middle of an at-bat against Victor Martinez, and said he especially felt the strain in the back of his shoulder when throwing curveballs. He underwent an MRI exam on Thursday, but it showed no structural damage.

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

Mauer, Hunter lead former All-Stars on Twins' ballot

Mauer, Hunter lead former All-Stars on Twins' ballot

MINNEAPOLIS -- Six-time All-Star Joe Mauer, five-time All-Star Torii Hunter and Kurt Suzuki, a first-time All-Star selection last season, highlight the list of nine Twins on this year's All-Star Game ballot.

Mauer, in his second season at first base, is off to a hot start this year after struggling last year and missing out on playing in front of his home crowd at Target Field for the 2014 All-Star Game. Suzuki represented the Twins last year, along with closer Glen Perkins, but pitchers aren't on the ballot.

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

Hughes, Schafer and Fien exit with injuries

Righty has hip flexor strain, outfielder sprains right knee and reliever has sore shoulder

Hughes, Schafer and Fien exit with injuries

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins right-hander Phil Hughes, center fielder Jordan Schafer and reliever Casey Fien all exited Wednesday's 10-7 loss to the Tigers due to injury, but manager Paul Molitor said the club remains hopeful all three injuries are minor.

Hughes left after the fifth with a minor left hip flexor strain, while Schafer exited in the sixth with a mild MCL sprain in his right knee and Fien left with right shoulder soreness in the ninth.

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

Twins drop wild slugfest to Tigers in rubber game

Twins drop wild slugfest to Tigers in rubber game

MINNEAPOLIS -- In a wild game that saw six combined homers, including an inside-the-parker, Andrew Romine connected on a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning, keyed by a missed popup on the infield, to lead the Tigers to a 10-7 win over the Twins on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field.

With the game tied at 7 in the eighth, Yoenis Cespedes hit a high pop fly for what looked like an easy second out, but it dropped and hit off the base of the mound and was ruled an infield single off reliever Casey Fien. It came back to haunt the Twins, as James McCann singled with two outs to set up Romine for his game-winning RBI single to left. Fien came back out for the ninth, and gave up a two-run blast to Miguel Cabrera to give the Tigers insurance runs.

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

Four-run lead disappears as 'pen allows four HRs

Infield popup that falls in proves costly as Tigers take lead in eighth

Four-run lead disappears as 'pen allows four HRs

MINNEAPOLIS -- With Phil Hughes exiting due to injury after throwing just 71 pitches over five innings and Minnesota leading by four runs Wednesday, the Twins had to go to the bullpen early against the Tigers.

It didn't work out, as three Twins relievers combined to give up four homers, including a game-tying inside-the-park homer to backup catcher James McCann in the sixth, in a 10-7 loss. It was a wild game that saw both teams hit a combined six homers and the Tigers score the go-ahead run in the eighth, keyed by a pop fly that landed on the mound for a single.

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

Salcedo suspended for use of banned substances

Salcedo suspended for use of banned substances

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins Minor League pitcher Adrian Salcedo was suspended 80 games for the use of a performance-enhancing substance and for the use of a stimulant, Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday.

Salcedo, who is with Double-A Chattanooga, tested positive for Tamoxifen, a performance-enhancing substance, and Heptaminol, a stimulant, both of which are in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

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

Twins getting big lift from Big Pelf

Veteran's ERA sits at 2.25 with rotation spot locked down

Twins getting big lift from Big Pelf

MINNEAPOLIS -- For a pitcher who wasn't even supposed to be a part of the club's rotation to open the year, Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey has made the most of his opportunity early this season.

Pelfrey, moved from the bullpen into the rotation after Ervin Santana's 80-game suspension, was at it again Tuesday night, giving up two runs (one earned) on just three hits over seven strong innings to help lead the Twins to a 3-2 win over the Tigers. Pelfrey improved to 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts and has been the club's best starter early this year.

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

Suzuki's big hit, Pelf's big arm help Twins topple Tigers

Suzuki's big hit, Pelf's big arm help Twins topple Tigers

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mike Pelfrey turned in another strong outing, outdueling Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez, while Kurt Suzuki connected on a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh to lift the Twins to a 3-2 win on Tuesday night at Target Field.

Pelfrey went seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on just three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. The right-hander, who is coming off elbow surgery that limited him to just five starts last year, improved to 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts this season. Detroit scored in the third on an RBI single from Anthony Gose, and again in the fourth on an RBI double from Yoenis Cespedes after an error from shortstop Danny Santana.

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

Duensing remains hopeful for weekend return vs. White Sox

Lefty reliever eligible to come off DL on Saturday

Duensing remains hopeful for weekend return vs. White Sox

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins left-hander Brian Duensing said he remains hopeful he'll be ready to be activated from the 15-day disabled list as soon as he's eligible on Saturday against the White Sox.

Duensing, on the DL with a right intercostal strain, threw a bullpen session of 30 pitches with no issues on Monday and participated in pitcher's fielding practice before Tuesday's game. He'll face hitters in a 30-pitch simulated game on Thursday, and if all goes to plan, he could return on Saturday without a rehab assignment.

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

Twins show resolve in opener, but can't complete comeback

Twins show resolve in opener, but can't complete comeback

MINNEAPOLIS -- After a road trip through Kansas City and Seattle that saw them post a 3-3 record after taking two of three from the Mariners, the Twins headed home feeling good entering their three-game set with the Tigers.

But the Twins quickly found themselves in a hole on Monday, as left-hander Tommy Milone gave up four runs in the first inning on a pair of homers from Jose Iglesias and Yoenis Cespedes. And with Tigers ace David Price on the mound, the Twins knew they wouldn't have any easy road back. Minnesota did rally late, scoring in the seventh and eighth innings, but couldn't come through in the ninth against closer Joakim Soria in a 5-4 loss at Target Field.

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