CHICAGO (AP)—Jason Kubel has a special place in his heart for Chicago, and it’s easy to see why.
He perked up again Wednesday night, hitting a grand slam and driving in six runs, and so did the Minnesota Twins’ offense in a 12-5 victory that snapped the White Sox’s five game winning streak.
“I love this place,” Kubel said. “I feel like I can pretty much go anywhere on this field.”
And that’s exactly what the Twins did.
The 12 runs doubled their previous season high and were their most since they beat the White Sox 20-14 and 12-0 on July 6, 2007, at U.S. Cellular Field. After scoring more than four runs just once in their first eight games, the Twins led 7-0 after a five-run third in which they knocked out Chicago starter John Danks.
The White Sox tried to chip away at the lead one homer at a time, with Nick Swisher, Paul Konerko and Joe Crede each hitting solo drives against Minnesota’s Scott Baker, but any shot of a comeback ended when Kubel went deep in the sixth.
The grand slam off Nick Masset was the third of Kubel’s career and his first since the first game of that doubleheader last July, when he also drove in a career-high seven runs.
“I really believe this guy can hit,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s going to get plenty of opportunities this year. … I think he’s healthy in his knees now, we don’t hear about that anymore, and now it’s time for him to get the at-bats and go. Run with it.”
Kubel missed the 2005 season while recovering from surgery to repair torn anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee, and split time between the Twins and Triple-A Rochester in 2006. He got 418 at-bats with Minnesota last season, hitting .273 with 13 homers and 65 RBIs, and had that big outburst in Chicago.
On Wednesday, he performed an encore.
“This place is outdoors and the ball just travels well. It’s a good-sized field, but the ball just seems to travel well here,” Kubel said.
Brendan Harris had three hits and scored three runs for the Twins, who finished with 13 in all. Minnesota got two hits apiece from Joe Mauer, Kubel and Mike Lamb, who limped off the field with a bruised foot after fouling a pitch off his instep and toes in the ninth inning.
Baker (2-0) lasted five innings, allowing five hits while striking out seven and walking one. Rookie Brian Bass allowed two runs, one earned, over four innings for his first major league save in as many chances.
The White Sox were on their longest win streak since taking five straight in August 2006, and they were feeling particularly good after Monday’s home opener, when Crede hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the seventh to lift them to a 7-4 victory over Minnesota.
If that game had a vintage feel, so did this one. It felt like 2007 again, Chicago’s 90-loss nightmare revisited.
“I just wonder how they’re going to show up tomorrow,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “(Thursday) is a big day for us just because of the way we got beat today.”
Danks (0-1) allowed seven runs and seven hits while walking three.
“I felt like I had good stuff but I had trouble controlling it,” Danks said.
Delmon Young’s RBI single and Kubel’s sacrifice fly gave the Twins a 2-0 lead in the first, and Danks’ problems continued in the third, as Minnesota sent 10 batters to the plate.
Danks walked Craig Monroe with the bases loaded to make it 4-0. Masset came in and promptly gave up an RBI single to Lamb, and Carlos Gomez added a bloop two-run double to right with two out that made it 7-0.
“We used the whole field all the way around, shooting the ball the other way,” Gardenhire said. “We put a lot of good swings on the ball.”
Gardenhire said he had no idea that Matt Garza had pain in his left arm last season and the pitcher should have said something if he was hurt. Garza, dealt to Tampa Bay in the Delmon Young trade, went on the disabled list Tuesday with an irritated nerve in his pitching arm. “I saw him throw one 15 rows up— I didn’t think his arm was bothering him then—when he tried a pickoff at first base,” Gardenhire said. “His arm strength was fine.” … Gardenhire said the Twins haven’t decided whether to call up Francisco Liriano or give him another minor league start before rejoining the team. … Konerko’s homer was his first.