CHICAGO — Dane Dunning pitched seven effective innings, Luis Robert had a key two-run single and the Chicago White Sox strengthened their hold on the AL Central by topping the Minnesota Twins 6-2 on Tuesday night.
Dunning (2-0) permitted one earned run and three hits in by far the biggest of his five major league starts. Looking poised and confident, the 25-year-old right-hander struck out seven and walked two in the longest outing of his career.
Tim Anderson and James McCann homered as Chicago (32-16) posted its sixth straight win and moved three games ahead of second-place Minnesota, which won the AL Central last year. The AL-best White Sox also moved 16 games over .500 for the first time since they were 71-55 on Aug. 26, 2012.
Byron Buxton hit his third career inside-the-park homer for Minnesota, but the Twins finished with just four hits. Randy Dobnak (6-4) allowed four runs and eight hits over 4 1/3 innings in his second straight loss.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and designated hitter Nelson Cruz were ejected by plate umpire Will Little after Ryan Jeffers took a called third strike for the final out of the seventh. It was third career ejection for both.
Buxton showed off his breathtaking speed in the third, tying it at 1 when he raced around the bases for his ninth homer. Buxton’s drive to deep center caromed off the wall after Robert tried to make a leaping catch, and Buxton scored easily with a stylish headfirst slide.
Buxton and the Twins thought he had an inside-the-park homer in the ninth inning of Monday’s 3-1 loss, but it was changed to a ground-rule double after a replay review led to a ruling that his liner to left was lodged at the bottom of the wall.
This time, Buxton got to keep his first inside-the-park homer since Aug. 18, 2017. But the White Sox went ahead to stay with three runs in the bottom of the third.
McCann hit a tiebreaking double, and Robert followed with a liner back up the middle against a drawn-in infield. McCann and José Abreu scored to give Chicago a 4-1 lead.
After Buxton singled and scored on Jeffers’ groundout in the fifth, Chicago responded with solo homers by Anderson in the sixth and McCann in the seventh.
Anderson had three hits and scored twice, and Abreu also finished with three hits. Anderson and Abreu are both strong contenders for the AL MVP award.