CHICAGO (AP)—Carlos Gomez couldn’t believe his name was in the same sentence as Kirby Puckett’s.
“It’s amazing,” Gomez said. “Kirby Puckett, I saw the video of the player. He is an All-Star and I can’t explain it to you. That’s unbelievable.”
One night after Chicago’s Gavin Floyd lost a no-hitter in the ninth, Gomez homered off Mark Buehrle (1-4) on the game’s third pitch. He added an RBI triple in the fifth, doubled in a run in the sixth and completed the cycle with an infield single to lead off a six-run ninth. The ball deflected off reliever Ehren Wasserman, forcing a rushed throw by shortstop Alexei Ramirez that sailed wide.
He thought about bunting, but changed his mind.
That single made Gomez—acquired from the New York Mets in the Johan Santana trade—the eighth Twins player to hit for the cycle and the first since Puckett on Aug. 1, 1986, against Oakland. He was also the first player to hit for the cycle against the White Sox since Oakland’s Mike Blowers on May 18, 1998. Gomez was 4-for-6 while driving in three runs and scoring two.
“When I got the cycle, I thought of my family,” Gomez said. “I say thank you for giving me the ability.”
In the dugout, teammates were glued to the scoreboard, waiting to see if that shot up the middle would be scored a hit or error.
“You’re hitting for the cycle, it’s something amazing,” said Hernandez, who hugged and high-fived Gomez.
Hernandez (5-1) was in line for his eighth shutout and his first since July 30, 2004, until Jermaine Dye hit a solo homer with one out in the ninth. He allowed nine hits, struck out three and walked one in his first complete game since last May 27, when he threw one for Arizona against Houston.
Nick Punto added five RBIs, three coming on a double that highlighted a five-run six that made it 7-0, sending Minnesota to its sixth win in seven games.
The loss was Chicago’s seventh in eight games, and Buehrle hasn’t won in more than a month.
The White Sox’s ace is 0-4 in last five starts since winning at Detroit on April 6, and this one was particularly frustrating. He gave up seven runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings and slammed one of Juan Uribe’s bats against a dugout heater and the ground after being lifted.
“It was frustrating, and I let it show today,” Buehrle said.
His troubles started almost as soon as he took to the mound.
Gomez wasted little time jumping on Buehrle after rain delayed the start by 1 hour, 44 minutes.
He lined a 1-1 pitch to left and kept sprinting around the bases after the ball landed in the seats. The home run was his second this season, both leading off games. Gomez also went deep at Oakland on April 24.
He made it 2-0 with a triple to center in the fifth.
Mike Redmond’s sacrifice fly to center with the bases loaded in the sixth and one out made it 3-0, and Buehrle continued to unravel from there.
He walked Matt Tolbert to reload the bases, before Punto cleared them with a double down the left-field line. Gomez then made it 7-0 with a double to short left, past a diving Carlos Quentin, and reached third when center fielder Nick Swisher had trouble picking up the ball.
That was it for Buehrle, who sat with his arms crossed in the dugout after he slammed the bat.
“I’ve never seen him that mad,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “It was kind of weird to see.”
Hernandez, who pitched seven shutout innings against Kansas City on April 11, simply baffled a team that batted just .203 over the previous 11 games and saw its average drop from .247 to .232. He kept the White Sox off balance, even lunging at Eephus pitches.
“This was a perfect night for Livo,” said Redmond, the catcher. “We had that big delay and he’s always ready to pitch. He doesn’t need to go out there and warmup for 40 minutes. He just went out there, threw some warmups and just went. It was perfect.”
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire missed his fifth straight game after the death of his brother. Gardenhire was scheduled to rejoin the team Wednesday, but went from the airport to the hotel after a late arrival from Tulsa. … The complete game was Hernandez’s 44th.