CHICAGO (AP) — Pitching in a big game during a pennant race, Dane Dunning resembled a seasoned veteran in only his fifth major league start.
He had some company, too. No longer just a bunch of promising young kids, the Chicago White Sox are looking down at the rest of the American League.
Dunning tossed seven effective innings, Luis Robert had a key two-run single and the White Sox strengthened their hold on the AL Central by topping the Minnesota Twins 6-2 Tuesday night.
Dunning (2-0) permitted one earned run and three hits in by far his biggest start since his Aug. 19 debut. Appearing poised and confident, the 25-year-old right-hander struck out seven and walked two in the longest outing of his career.
”I feel really comfortable right now,” Dunning said. ”The debut, obviously the nerves are a little bit high, but after that, I feel like I’ve been pretty calm, pretty collected. Just trying to go out there and throw strikes.”
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.
”You look up and down our lineup and there’s no breaks,” McCann said.
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.
”I’m not really happy with the way I’ve been pitching,” Dobnak said. ”I haven’t really been getting ahead of guys. That’s kind of my game: attack the guys. Get them first-pitch strikes.”
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.
”Just another display by Byron of him showing us things that we don’t normally get the opportunity to see on a baseball field,” Baldelli said. ”We know how special his abilities are, and watching him run around the bases, it’s a joy to watch.”
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 Jose 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.
WELCOME TO THE BIGS
Travis Blankenhorn started at second base for the Twins in his major league debut. He doubled in the ninth for his first career hit.
Twins: INF Marwin Gonzalez rested a day after he was scratched due to an illness. Baldelli said Gonzalez was feeling much better. ”I don’t think he’s going to miss very much time,” Baldelli said. … INF Miguel Sano (neck stiffness) and OF Eddie Rosario (left elbow) returned to the starting lineup.
White Sox: LHP Jace Fry threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings after he was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. He had been sidelined by back spasms. ”I got a shot in my back to help out and after that kind of set in, we took it slower,” Fry said. ”I think I could have been back a few days ago. But they were being pretty safe with it and making sure I felt good before I got back on the mound.” LHP Bernardo Flores Jr. was optioned to the team’s alternate training site to make room on the roster.
Lucas Giolito (4-2, 3.43 ERA) pitches for Chicago on Wednesday night. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA in three starts since he threw a no-hitter against Pittsburgh on Aug. 25. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 8.10 ERA) is expected to come off the IL for Minnesota.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Hamilton fastest in final Russian GP practice
(Reuters) – Formula One world championship leader Lewis Hamilton showed his pace on Saturday with the fastest lap in final practice for a Russian Grand Prix that could bring him a record-equalling 91st career win.
The 35-year-old Briton led a Mercedes one-two on top of the timesheets, with Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas 0.776 seconds slower after setting the pace in both Friday sessions.
Six-time world champion Hamilton, who set his best time of one minute 33.279 seconds with 14 minutes to go in the session, has won four times in Russia before.
Dominant Mercedes have won every race in Russia since the first in Sochi in 2014.
A win on Sunday would see Hamilton equal seven-time champion Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91, a milestone that looked likely to stand the test of time when set by the German with Ferrari in 2006.
Hamilton leads Bottas by 55 points in the championship after nine races.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was third fastest, 0.817 slower than Hamilton, with Renault’s Esteban Ocon fourth.
Ocon’s Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo struggled in the session with a dislodged wing mirror, trying to adjust it at speed with his left hand.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, third in the championship, was sixth fastest.
Sebastian Vettel was seventh for Ferrari with team mate Charles Leclerc 12th.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Jason Neely)
3 predictions as Washington looks to bounce back vs. Baker Mayfield, Browns
3 predictions as Washington looks to bounce back vs. Browns originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Washington took an ugly loss last week in Arizona, but is just two weeks removed from a rousing comeback win over the Eagles.
So that team is the real Washington Football Team? Eight sacks and 27 points against Philadelphia, or a 20-0 halftime deficit against Kyler Murray and the Cardinals?
The truth could be somewhere in the middle. Here are three predictions for Sunday’s matchup:
1) Dwayne Haskins and the Washington offense have produced some ugly results through two teams, but guess what could help? A Browns defense giving up 34 points-per-game. It’s unclear if Haskins and the Burgundy and Gold offense has enough to produce at a high level, or even a medium level, but if they can, this week would be a good chance to prove it.
2) Washington placed Brandon Scherff on injured reserve this week, and history predicts some ugly results without the former Iowa Hawkeye in the lineup. In 15 games without Scherff since 2015, Washington has lost 12. Without Scherff in the lineup Washington has given up 3.5 sacks per game and has averaged 91.2 yard-per-game rushing.
3) On Sunday, Baker Mayfield will get to throw to receivers like Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. What doesn’t help is that in just two games Washington has already given up three pass plays of 40 yards or more. It doesn’t help either that the Browns have the best 1-2 run game in the NFL in Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb.
Washington needs to score early to put Cleveland in a mode to chase. Through two games the Football Team has been outscored 37-7 in first halves.
Anti-fracking protester claimed benefits due to ‘fear of leaving house’
An anti-fracking protester who claimed he could not leave his home because of “overwhelming psychological distress” has been sentenced to a community order for benefits fraud.
John Knox, 33, from Kirkby, Merseyside, played an “active and vigorous part” in various demonstrations at Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Little Plumpton, Lancashire, said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
He was seen handcuffing himself to other demonstrators, equipment and fencing on a number of occasions and jumping down from the top of a lorry to the cheers of fellow protesters after spending 24 hours on the vehicle.
His behaviour was incompatible with the level of capability declared on his benefits application form, said prosecutors, in which he stated that leaving the house and undertaking a journey would cause him overwhelming psychological distress and he found it very difficult to be in open, crowded spaces.
Investigators for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found Knox failed to notify any change in his circumstances that may affect his entitlement to Personal Independence Payments, awarded to people with long-term ill health or disability.
Knox was convicted in January of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances.
On Friday he was sentenced at Preston Crown Court to a 12-month community order and must also observe a curfew between 9pm and 6am for three months and two weeks, said the CPS.
Rob Girvan of CPS Mersey-Cheshire’s Fraud Unit said: “John Knox had taken part in radical and extreme demonstrations at the fracking site at Little Plumpton in Lancashire.
“On one occasion he was seen jumping from a lorry after a 24-hour protest on top of it, to the cheering of his fellow protesters.
“His ability to be involved in all of this made a lie of his comments on his benefits claim forms that simply leaving the house was extremely daunting for him.”
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