Twins 10, White Sox 4
But if someone like A.J. Pierzynski wants to provide a little extra push, they’ll take it.
The Twins rallied after manager Ron Gardenhire hollered at all four umpires when Pierzynski appeared to spike first baseman Justin Morneau, turning a one-run deficit into a 10-4 win on Monday.
“I guess (A.J.) woke up a sleeping dog, and you don’t want to do that,” Twins center fielder Torii Hunter said. “But, A.J., I don’t think he meant anything by it.”
The game’s intensity level rose after Pierzynski, a former Twin, possibly spiked Morneau while running out a double play to end the White Sox half of the sixth inning.
Gardenhire stormed out of the dugout before the White Sox took the field and yelled at the umpires for about a minute. The manager said after the game that he was upset at first-base umpire John Gibson for telling the Twins’ dugout to stop talking to Pierzynski.
According to Gardenhire, Gibson looked in the Twins’ dugout and made a motion across his throat to try and quiet the team down. Gardenhire did not appreciate the gesture.
Gardenhire spoke with Pierzynski after the game and cleared up any misunderstanding.
“I met with A.J. and it’s over with,” he said. “He explained it to me and that’s good enough for me.”
Pierzynski was asked after the game if his reputation had anything to do with the incident.
“Doesn’t it always?” he said. “It’s part of it. I just don’t want it to turn into a big thing. I don’t want it to fester. That’s why I went to Gardy right away and tried to clear the air. I would never try to do anything like that. We don’t want to make these guys mad. Every time we do, they score 10 runs.”
Either way, the incident appeared to fire up the Twins, who scored five times in its half of the sixth to take an 8-4 lead.
The Twins tied it on a Punto infield single and took the lead when Hunter chopped one off the plate to for another run-scoring infield single.
“You got to do what you got to do,” Hunter said. “High choppers are part of the game.”
Redmond followed with a bases-clearing three-RBI double off Chicago reliever David Aardsma.
Twins ace Johan Santana uncharacteristically coughed up an early 3-0 lead by surrendering home runs to Luis Terrero and Paul Konerko in the third and fourth innings, respectively. Chicago took a 4-3 lead on Konerko’s two-RBI single in the sixth.
“Four runs against (Santana) is like scoring 20 runs against anybody else,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “But we pitched real poorly today.”
Santana (6-4) zeroed in after the sixth. He pitched eight innings, allowing four runs and seven hits. The reigning Cy Young winner struck out seven.
A highlight-reel catch from Hunter in center field helped, too. Hunter climbed the wall in right-center field to rob Jim Thome of a home run in the eighth, bringing the 27,090 in the Metrodome to their feet.
The Twins got to White Sox starter Jose Contreras when he is most vulnerable — the early innings.
The Twins scored three times in the second inning on singles from Tyner, Punto and Michael Cuddyer.
Contreras (4-5) has allowed 21 of his 34 runs this season in the first two innings. He gave up seven runs over 5 1-3 innings, allowing 10 hits.
“From the beginning, Jose was really struggling to find the plate,” Guillen said. “And the bullpen, they’ve been doing bad lately. They didn’t throw the ball good.”
Minnesota added two more in the eighth inning, one on a throwing error by Pierzynski., who overthrew third base with Hunter stealing. The play prompted many in the Metrodome to begin a mock chant of “A.J., A.J.”
After the game, Morneau downplayed the incident between him and Pierzynski.
Morneau came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, and Larry Vanover stepped in front of Pierzynski to keep things cool.
“He clipped my foot a little bit, whatever,” he said. “He talked to me when I went up to the plate and he said he didn’t know he did it. It’s done.”
Darin Erstad extended his hitting streak to 12 and Jermaine Dye to 14 with first-inning singles. … Santana has pitched at least five innings in 102 straight starts. … The White Sox entered Monday’s game last in the AL in batting average (.236), runs scored (188), on-base percentage (.312) and slugging percentage (.376). … Morneau went 0-for-5 and snapped his 10-game hitting streak.