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Pino makes most of chance as Twins top Sox

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[June 20, 2014]  MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins starter Yohan Pino spent 10 seasons in the minors before finally being called up for his major league debut.

Another two hours didn't hurt.

Pino pitched seven innings of two-run ball, keeping the Twins in the game long enough for the bats to come through in a 4-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday at a soggy Target Field.

A two-hour rain stoppage delayed the start of Pino's big-league career, who at 30-years-175-days-old, became the oldest player in team history to make his big-league debut.

"I waited 10 years for this," Pino said. "I didn't feel nervous. I just wanted to go out there and throw that first pitch. I just wanted to do my job."

With the game tied at 2 entering the bottom of the eighth, shortstop Danny Santana and second baseman Brian Dozier chopped singles through holes in the infield to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Mauer came through with a double down the left field line to score Santana and move Dozier to third. He scored on a one-out sacrifice fly to center by catcher Kurt Suzuki.

Mauer singled and doubled in four plate appearances and drove in two as Minnesota snapped a season-long five-game losing streak.

"We're still not scoring a lot of runs, but we came up with some big hits," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Joe came up with a couple big ones. We need some of those guys to get going and that's huge for us."

Pino didn't figure into the decision, allowing only the two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out seven. Both runs he allowed were earned and came in a rocky third inning, where the White Sox strung together a pair of singles and walk to load the bases for third baseman Conor Gillaspie, who shot a single up the middle, driving in two.

"We didn't know too much about him," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He's got a bit of an unusual delivery. It's deceptive, to make his off-speed stuff a little bit better. He doesn't throw that hard, but when you're watching it, it looks a little harder."

But Chicago only got two more hits the rest of the way, and only one of Pino, who showed the poise of a veteran after his first rough inning.

"That's what he's been doing in Triple-A, pitching like that," Suzuki said. "His presence on the mound, it was like he's been up here doing this for a long time."

Casey Fien atoned for his disastrous outing Wednesday in Boston by pitching a spotless eighth on just five pitches to earn his fourth win. Glen Perkins worked the ninth for his 18th save.

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Chicago lefty Jose Quintana matched Pino inning for inning, allowing only two runs on six hits and a walk while whiffing six in seven innings. He also left with a no-decision.

"I tried to throw more strikes, less pitches per inning," Quintana said. "I got the opportunity for a long game for me. I threw some really good pitches tonight."

Minnesota took the lead in the bottom of the second when left fielder Josh Willingham hit a mammoth home run just inside the foul pole in left. The homer, which came on a 2-2 fastball, was Willingham's sixth of the season.

After Chicago scored two in the top of the third, Minnesota evened the game in the bottom of the inning on a sinking line drive to left by Mauer, driving Santana, who doubled two batters earlier.

Pino got through his first inning on 13 pitches, striking out the first two hitters he faced. In eight starts this season -- seven with Triple-A Rochester and one with the Twins -- Pino retired the side in order in the first inning each time.

NOTES: The start of the game was delayed two hours and six minutes after heavy rains soaked the Twin Cities most of the day Thursday. ... The delay was the 14th weather-effected game in Target Field history (2010) and the fifth this season. ... The Twins placed INF Eduardo Nunez on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring, clearing room on the 25-man roster for RHP Yohan Pino, who made his major league debut. ... The Twins transferred RHP Mike Pelfrey from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL after he had surgery two weeks ago to relieve pressure on the ulnar nerve in his right elbow. He might miss the remainder of the season. ... The loss was Chicago's fourth straight loss away from U.S. Cellular Field.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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