CHICAGO — Kyle Farmer hit a two-run homer to cap Minnesota’s four-run seventh inning, Kenta Maeda threw seven strong innings and the Twins routed the Chicago White Sox 10-2 on Thursday night.
Rookies Edouard Julien and Royce Lewis hit solo shots in the fourth to get the Twins rolling and help first-place Minnesota (77-70) extend its lead in the AL Central to eight games over idle Cleveland.
Matt Wallner, another Twins rookie, drove in two runs with a single in the seventh break to break open a tight game.
The newcomers — the 24-year-old Julien and Lewis, and 25-year-old Minnesota native Wallner — are among the reasons why the Twins are closing in on the division title.
“Our younger players, they’ve started their major league careers very well,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We wouldn’t have as many wins if those guys did not come up and get the job done. So that was another good example.”
Alex Kirilloff added two RBIs on his second hit of the night as the Twins tacked on four unearned runs in the ninth.
Chicago’s Andrew Vaughn hit his 20th homer, a two-run shot in the seventh, for the only runs off the 35-year-old Maeda (5-7) who allowed four hits, struck out eight and walked one.
The veteran right-hander from Japan matched his season-high in innings and threw 105 pitches, the most after missing the 2022 season after Tommy John surgery.
“That’s very encouraging,” Maeda said through a translator. “And just to pitch all even innings was a plus.
“I feel like I had command for all my pitches today and I was being aggressive with early counts,” added Maeda, who returned to the IL in May and June this season. “I think that was the key to success tonight.”
Josh Winder pitched the eighth, and Brent Headrick worked around Eloy Jiménez’s double in the ninth.
José Ureña (0-6) limited the Twins to two runs and three hits until the seventh. The right-hander made his second start for the White Sox after signing a minor league free-agent deal in August.
For the night, however, Ureña was tagged with six runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked none.
“The line he ended up with doesn’t really tell the story on his outing,” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. “It was a pretty encouraging outing for him.”
Ureña retired the first nine hitters before Julien lined is 13th homer over the right-center fence to open the fourth. After Ureña struck out the next two batters, Lewis drilled his 13th to left-center to make it 2-0.
With one out in the seventh, the Twins used four straight hits off Ureña to up their lead to 6-0. Kirilloff singled, then advanced to third on Willi Castro’s double.
Both scored on Wallner’s single. Farmer, at shortstop in place of the resting Carlos Correa, followed with his 11th homer.
“We did a good job of staying at it today,” Baldelli said. “Maeda was very good. We popped a couple of home runs and kind of added on late. I like the add-ons.”
Vaughn’s shot got Chicago on the board in the bottom half. Jorge Polanco had an RBI single and Lewis walked with the bases loaded in the ninth before Kirilloff’s single finished the rout.
The Twins recalled RHP Bailey Ober on from Triple-A St. Paul on Thursday and placed him on the taxi squad. Manager Rocco Baldelli said he planned to start Ober on Friday at Chicago.
The Twins optioned the 6-foot-9 Ober to their farm team Aug. 28 to restrict his workload. The 28-year-old righty has pitched 122 2/3 innings this season, a career high for him at any professional level.
Ober went 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his first five starts this season, but was 6-6 with a 3.67 ERA through 22 starts when sent down.
The Twins had the luxury of making of sending Ober to St. Paul after they added Dallas Keuchel to their rotation.
Twins: 3B Lewis appeared to suffer an injury after throwing out Andrew Vaughn with a strong throw in the fifth. He was checked by training staff remained in the game.
White Sox: LHP Garrett Crochet (left shoulder inflammation) tossed a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance with Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday night. Crochet, on the IL since June 17, was transferred from Double-A Birmingham.
Ober (6-6, 3.67) faces White Sox RHP Jesse Scholtens (1-8), 4.44) on Friday night.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb