Hunter's homer lifts Twins to fifth straight win

Hunter's homer lifts Twins to fifth straight win

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins extended their winning streak to five games, as they erased an early four-run deficit with Torii Hunter coming through with a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning in an 8-7 win over the A's on Monday night at Target Field.

Twins right-hander Phil Hughes gave up a grand slam to Stephen Vogt just five batters into the game, but settled down from there. After the Twins rallied with four runs in the second to tie it, Hughes gave up a go-ahead run on a solo shot to Mark Canha in the sixth.

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

Schafer dazzles with outstanding diving grab

Center fielder's catch helped maintain Twins' lead over A's

Schafer dazzles with outstanding diving grab

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jordan Schafer knew as soon as he hit the ground that he had come up with a run-saving diving catch in shallow center field to end the eighth inning, but it wasn't quite as clear for first-base umpire Todd Tichenor.

With Brett Lawrie at second base and two outs in the eighth, Billy Burns hit a sinking line drive to center off reliever Blaine Boyer, and Schafer made an impressive diving play. But Tichenor ruled it wasn't a catch, so Twins manager Paul Molitor challenged it, and it was ultimately overturned to end the inning.

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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.

With hot bats, Twins confident in comeback

Offense picks up shaky Hughes, who allowed five runs in six innings

With hot bats, Twins confident in comeback

MINNEAPOLIS -- With the way the offense has been rolling this homestand, no one on the Twins panicked when they quickly fell behind by four runs just five batters into the game on a grand slam from A's catcher Stephen Vogt off right-hander Phil Hughes.

Instead, the Twins came right back with four runs of their own in the second to tie the game before Torii Hunter crushed a three-run homer in the sixth to give the Twins the lead in an eventual 8-7 win on Monday night. It marked the fifth straight victory for the Twins, who have now won eight of 10 to move two games above .500 at 14-12 despite a 1-6 start to the 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.

Arcia's trip to DL opens up spot for Rosario

Flexor strain in right hip sidelines outfielder; prospect called up for first time

Arcia's trip to DL opens up spot for Rosario

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins placed outfielder Oswaldo Arcia on the 15-day disabled list with a right hip flexor strain on Monday, and they recalled fellow outfielder Eddie Rosario from Triple-A Rochester.

Arcia left Sunday's game in the fourth inning with what was described as irritation in his right hip, and the Twins were hopeful Arcia would just be day to day. But Arcia was placed on the DL, giving Rosario his first callup to the Majors. Arcia underwent an MRI exam on his hip on Monday morning, which revealed the strain, and said he's hopeful he'll be able to return once he's eligible to come off the DL.

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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.

May looks to lead Twins to sixth straight win

May looks to lead Twins to sixth straight win

A's catcher Stephen Vogt, who has three home runs in his last two games and a team-high seven for the season, will be back behind the plate Tuesday to catch right-hander Jesse Chavez against the host Twins, who will counter with righty Trevor May at Target Field. Minnesota is looking to pick up its sixth straight win as the club tries to climb the American League Central ranks.

Vogt hit a grand slam and an RBI double in the first game of this four-game set on Monday, giving him 25 RBIs in 25 games.

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

Hunter busts out vicious bat flip after HR

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Hunter busts out vicious bat flip after HR

For the most part, the bat flip is a young man's game. It's basically an expression of youthful exuberance, after all -- I just did something really, really cool, and here's exactly how I feel about it. 

Soon-to-be-40 elder statesman Torii Hunter -- himself never one to hide his youthful exuberance -- has seen all these whippersnappers try their best to toss some lumber, and has decided to dispense some wisdom upon the youth of America with all the righteous rage of a man who just wants the kids to get off of his lawn:

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Plouffe dedicates slam to late grandfather

Twins third baseman will miss Saturday's game to attend funeral

Plouffe dedicates slam to late grandfather

MINNEAPOLIS -- In a touching moment in his postgame interview on the field with Fox Sports North after Sunday's 13-3 win over the White Sox, Trevor Plouffe said the grand slam he hit was in honor of his grandfather, Tom, who passed away Saturday night.

It was the first grand slam of Plouffe's career, and he went 3-for-5 with five RBIs in his first game since finding out about his grandfather's death. Plouffe also tweeted about his grandfather after the game.

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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.

Buxton smashes walk-off home run for Chattanooga

Baseball's No. 1 prospect continues hot streak; hitting .455 in past 8 games

Buxton smashes walk-off home run for Chattanooga

For eight innings, it appeared as if Twins No. 1 prospect (No. 1 overall) Byron Buxton's hot streak was over. But the Double-A Chattanooga star made up for an 0-for-3 start with a two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to break a scoreless tie.

The center fielder is now 15-for-33 (.455) over his past eight games, and is officially past an early-season slump. Buxton is hitting .286/.353./527 on the year now, which is nearly .100 points higher than his average was on April 26 (.190), his most recent hitless game. His game-winner on Monday night came off of Jacksonville's Casey McCarthy. Buxton has six RBIs in his past four games and three homers and 14 RBIs this season.

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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.

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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Buxton on Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week

Mets' top prospect threw 14 scoreless innings, struck out 19 in two starts

Buxton on Pipeline 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.

Triple-A Las Vegas's Cashman Field is one of the toughest places to pitch in professional baseball. Games there averaged 11.9 runs per game in 2014, the fifth-highest total in the Minor Leagues, and an average of 11.1 runs per contest are being scored this season.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB reveals 30 Honorary Bat Girl winners

MLB reveals 30 Honorary Bat Girl winners

Mother's Day is Sunday, and for Melissa Rupert of Liberty Township, Ohio, it will be the first one to celebrate as the mother of a baby boy named Noah.

"He's my entire world," Rupert said. "Every day, I hold my baby boy as tightly as he'll let me and remind myself that he is my rock and my joy, and I barely think about ... breast cancer."

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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.

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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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.