Twins score 8 runs after 5th inning to defeat White Sox, extending their winning streak to 10

CHICAGO — If a team wins its 10th straight game for the first time in 16 years but no one watches, did it really happen?

That's the question Minnesota Twins fans must unfortunately consider after a standoff between a major cable provider and the team's broadcast partner took Wednesday afternoon's game off the air in much of the upper Midwest.

Despite losing Byron Buxton to a right knee injury, the Twins scored eight runs after the fifth inning and continued their best winning streak since the 2008 season with a 10-5 win over the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Twins rallied behind a two-out White Sox double, loaded the bases on an error in the sixth inning and began punishing the opposing fielder en route to victory No. 10, matching the fourth-longest winning streak in club history. Jose Miranda and Willy Castro each finished with three hits for the Twins, who improved to 17-13 before heading north for a seven-game homestand starting Friday.

“You have to really identify what the feeling of momentum and positive energy is that guys feel and feed off each other,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “This is what's happening here now. I don't know how to look at it any other way. But when it starts happening, you feel like you're going to win every game.”

There is no doubt that the quality of their opponents – or lack thereof – can increase a team's confidence. After playing a tough schedule the first 20 games of the season, the Twins have certainly found a soft spot over the last 10 days.

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But throughout the team's longest winning streak since June 17-27, 2008, the Twins rarely felt out of contention. They blew down many doors in the process.

With a 4-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning, Chicago's bullpen opened the door for the Twins.

First, reliever Steven Wilson loaded the bases with three runs. Coming off, Castro fired a weak shot towards Paul DeJong that should have ended the half only for the player to misplay the ball, allowing him to score twice.

An inning later, two more walks from White Sox reliever Dominic Leone put the Twins up 6-4 on back-to-back RBI singles by Max Kepler and Miranda, who entered the game as a replacement for Buxton in the top of the third inning.

But the real fireworks arrived in the ninth inning with the Twins leading by a run after Brock Stewart surrendered a solo homer, snapping his MLB scoreless streak at 25 innings.

Kyle Farmer opened the game-winning walk with a single, and Carlos Correa, who had previously walked twice, also scored on a single. Facing reliever John Brebbia, Miranda ripped a double into the left corner to increase the lead to 8-5. Ryan Jeffers doubled for Miranda and Castro singled in a run to put the White Sox in the rearview mirror.

“Everybody is playing more freely,” said Twins outfielder Billy Oubre, who pitched six innings to earn the win. “You can just tell there's not a lot of pressure we put on ourselves. If one guy doesn't get the job done, we're confident the next guy will be able to pick us up. I feel like the biggest thing is to rely on each other and trust our teammates.”

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The Twins offense has been the key to everything. During a 7-13 start, the Twins scored 67 runs. Over their last 10 games, the Twins have outscored their opponents 76-36.

Suddenly, a club that was six games below .500 and looking for signs of life feels healthier as it prepares for home against two loaded opponents in Boston and Seattle.

“We knew we had a chance in that stretch to turn the page a little bit and get a fresh start,” Jeffers said. “I don't think anyone here was expecting to go 10-0, but we played really good baseball. We hung in those games and battled hard and came out the other end unbeaten in games.”

Twins players had to avoid bad feelings early in the game, some of which were not of their own making.

Late Tuesday, Comcast indicated it had lost the rights to broadcast the team's games as a result of a contract dispute with Diamond Sports Group, the parent company of Bally Sports North, and 11 other team's regional networks. Suddenly, the team, in the midst of its best winning streak since Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer, the nucleus of the offense, could no longer be watched by a large portion of its fan base, angering fans in Twins territory all morning.

Then in the second inning, Buxton exited with right knee soreness after a failed stolen base attempt. After a slow exit from the field, multiple sources in the Twins clubhouse confirmed that first base umpire Rob Drake yelled at Buxton to move faster, a moment captured by field microphones placed near home plate.

After the game, Baldelli said Buxton's twice-surgically-repaired right knee would require an MRI, but he hesitated to provide a further update.

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After exhausting another baserunner, the Twins fell behind 3-0 early as Oubre hit an RBI double in the first inning, including a single by Tommy Pham. Pham then blasted a solo homer in the third. Although the Twins got a run in the fifth on Alex Kirillov's solo homer, Robbie Grossman doubled homer in the fifth to increase the deficit to 4-2.

But after stepping in for Buxton, Miranda continued a torrid wild ride with a single in the fourth inning before adding two more hits late.

He hit .400/.400/.680 in flight with five RBIs in 25 plate appearances.

After a shoulder injury bothered him all of last season, Miranda looks similar to the 2022 version of himself, posting an .858 OPS over his first 56 plate appearances.

“It's been a long road, but you know, I've done the work,” Miranda said. “It's been a lot of work, a lot of hard work over the offseason, so it's great to see the results and help the team win. Obviously this stretch that we're in now, it's a great feeling.”

(Photo of Twins celebrating their 10th straight win: Joe Robins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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