CHICAGO (AP) — Michael Pineda and the Minnesota Twins came through with a tidy effort when they didn’t have much room for error.
Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Schoop hit solo homers in the second inning, Pineda pitched five sharp innings to help the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Eddie Rosario knocked in an insurance run in the eighth as the AL Central-leading Twins won their third straight to remain 3 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland. Minnesota (80-51) moved to 29 games above .500 for the first time since Sept. 26, 2010.
Tim Anderson’s 14th homer accounted for the only run off Pineda (10-5), who won his third straight start and fourth straight decision. The right-hander allowed four hits and walked one while striking out eight, but was replaced by Sam Dyson to start the sixth after 89 pitches.
“Mike was great and and our entire bullpen really came up big for us today,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Nobody folded at any point and just continued to go out there and get outs, and it started with Mike.
“We’ve leaned on Mike and you see his name come around in the rotation and you really start looking forward to it.”
Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo and Taylor Rogers followed as Minnesota’s bullpen finished with four scoreless innings. Rogers pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save.
The Twins faced a potentially tall order against White Sox ace Lucas Giolito (14-7), who shut them in a three-hitter while striking out 12 and walking none in Minneapolis last week. However, Giolito wasn’t as crisp this time, giving up two runs and four hits with three walks in six innings. He struck out nine to reach 203 for the season.
“We know Giolito is a great pitcher, especially this year,” Pineda said. “I’m thinking how I can pitch a good game and give an opportunity to my team to just win.”
Giolito threw 106 pitches, topping 100 for the fifth straight outing, and enjoyed facing the Twins again so quickly.
“It was pretty fun,” Giolito said. “They made some adjustments for sure from the last outing. The elevated fastball wasn’t working as well today. ... So kind of went a different route after the second inning. It ended up working out pretty well, but came up just short.”
Max Kepler, who leads the Twins with 35 home runs, didn’t start, but pinch-hit in the eighth and then played center in an outfield shift after Gonzalez left with an abdominal issue that Baldelli said isn’t serious. Minnesota still increased its major league-leading homer total to 255.
The Twins took a 2-0 lead in the second on solo shots by Gonzalez and Schoop, although Giolito fanned the three other Minnesota batters in the inning.
Gonzalez led off by lofting a 1-2 pitch into the right-field stands for his 15th homer. With two outs, Schoop hit an 0-1 pitch deep to left for his 19th.
Anderson’s homer to right-center leading off the fourth was Chicago’s first hit and cut it to 2-1.
Jorge Polanco, Nelson Cruz and Rosario line three straight singles in the eighth to make it 3-1
ANOTHER SET OF TWINS
Following the game many of the Twins players were watching Tyler Rogers — Taylor’s twin brother — make his major league debut for the San Francisco Giants against Arizona on TV. A group including Taylor was rooting robustly for Tyler, a reliever who arrived in the majors more than three years later than his sibling.
“I think I was the most excited person on Planet Earth right there,” Taylor said. “We’re different. Just because we’re twins, doesn’t mean we have to be compared to each other, different paths.
The Rogers twins are 28. Taylor is a left-hander. Tyler is a righty.
Minnesota recalled RHP Randy Dobnak from Triple-A Rochester and optioned LHP Lewis Thorpe to the farm club before the game.
Twins: Rosario started in left field after missing three games with right hamstring tightness. .. Baldelli said OF Byron Buxton’s Class A rehab assignment at Class A Cedar Rapids was suspended after he felt pain in his injured left shoulder during batting practice. Buxton, who has been out since Aug. 1, will be re-evaluated.
White Sox: OF Eloy Jiménez returned to left field after serving as the DH for two games as he eased back in to the lineup with a sore right hip flexor. ... INF/OF Leury Garcia started in right after being hit with a pitch in the left shin and leaving Sunday’s game versus Texas.
Twins RHP Jake Odorizzi (13-6, 3.57) faces White Sox LHP Ross Detwiler (2-3, 5.51) on Wednesday night.