Twins win as Ober posts first major league victory

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When a Twins pitcher wins his first career game, his teammates have an initiation of sorts. The pitcher is placed in a large wastebasket and given a beer shower.

The latest member of the club, Bailey Ober, presented a challenge for his teammates. He stands 6-9 and weighs 260 pounds, not exactly the size to fit in a small receptacle.

"I agreed to step in there," Ober said after earning his first career victory, an 8-5triumph over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night at Target Field. "No one threw me in."

The rookie righthander gave up two hits and struck out seven over five shutout innings as the Twins beat the division-leading White Sox in front of a season-high crowd announced at 20,321.

"He made some really good hitters look bad today," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Ober received plenty of help, too, including a pair of home runs and three RBI from Max Kepler, a two-run triple from Nick Gordon and outstanding relief work from Taylor Rogers. That formula enabled Minnesota to beat Chicago for the second time in 10 tries this season.

BOXSCORE: Twins 8, Chicago 5

From the opening pitch, Ober set the tone, getting Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu to strike out swinging in the first inning.

"We had a game plan going into the first inning to just attack these guys, see what they can do with the fastball," Ober said.

His first trip through the lineup went swimmingly, with five strikeouts, no walks and one hit on 41 pitches. Chicago made Ober work more in the fourth as he gave up two-out walks to Brian Goodwin and Yasmani Grandal. After a visit from pitching coach Wes Johnson, Ober got Gavin Sheets to ground into a fielder's choice, but he needed 30 pitches to get out of the inning.

Ober retired the first two batters in the fifth before walking No. 9 hitter Leury Garcia. Anderson followed with a single to right-center. Moncada worked the count full and hammered a line drive to right, but Kepler was there to snare it and keep the White Sox scoreless.

Baldelli had faith to let Ober pitch the fifth because of how homed-in he had been. "When he's throwing the ball well and looking sharp and pretty confident on the mound, and his stuff's still good, it makes you want to leave the guy in," Baldelli said.

Meanwhile, the Twins built a 6-1 lead on Kepler's two-run homer in the second, Trevor Larnach's RBI single in the third and Gordon's two-run triple in the sixth.

"That felt pretty good," said Gordon, whose first career triple chased White Sox starter Dylan Cease from the game in favor of Jace Fry, who promptly threw a wild pitch on his first offering, enabling Gordon to score.

The Twins bullpen faltered in the sixth and seventh when Caleb Thielbar gave up four runs and Tyler Duffey one as Chicago roared back to cut Minnesota's lead to 6-5. Rogers, however, doused the flames with 1⅔ innings of scoreless, hitless, four-strikeout relief.

"That is some kind of relief pitching right there," Baldelli said. "… We brought Rog in, and he shut it down."

Kepler's eighth-inning homer, his third in two games, and Andrelton Simmons' run-scoring bunt stretched the lead to 8-5 in the eighth. Hansel Robles pitched a tense ninth to finish it.

"We put some runs on the board," Baldelli said. "Late in the game, tacking on those runs is huge because you never know when you're going to need them."

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