Updated: July 24, 2014 11:25PM
MINNEAPOLIS — An impressive start from Hector Noesi was just a couple of pitches away from being something really special.
Noesi allowed three hits over 7 2-3 innings, and Adam Eaton had three hits and two RBIs to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
Noesi (5-7) gave up two runs, struck out three and didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning. Alexei Ramirez added two hits and an RBI for Chicago, and Jake Petricka went one inning to earn his fifth save in six chances.
“When you have command of your fastball, every pitch you can mix in, and they’re going to swing and miss,” Noesi said. “But everything was working today.”
Phil Hughes (10-7) gave up two runs and four hits and struck out four for the Twins. But he left the game with a bruised right shin in the fourth inning when he was hit by a chopper off the bat of Adam Dunn. Hughes is listed as day-to-day.
Danny Santana hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning for the Twins, who couldn’t touch Noesi for most of the game.
The White Sox claimed Noesi off waivers from Texas at the end of April and he has been up and down for most of the season. The Dominican right-hander had everything working against the Twins, who traded veteran Kendrys Morales to Seattle earlier Thursday in the first of what could be several salary dumps as the trade deadline approaches.
“The strides he’s made are impressive from when we got him to what he’s doing now where he’s at,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “To be able to go out and give you this it’s definitely steps in the right direction.”
Noesi didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, when Trevor Plouffe reached on a bloop single that plopped down between three White Sox. He allowed only two runners in the first seven innings, and by the time the Twins got to him in the eighth, it was too late.
“He kept us off balance all night long,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Hughes, in an ominous sign for a team that has struggled mightily to find quality starting pitching, limped off the field in the fourth inning after being hit. X-rays were negative, and Hughes is hopeful to make his next start.
The White Sox jumped on emergency reliever Samuel Deduno, who walked in a run and gave up a two-run single to Eaton to fall behind 4-0.
The Twins can’t afford to lose Hughes, who has been by far their best starter this season. He entered the game with a 10-6 record and 4.06 ERA, and his reliable performance through the first half of the season made his three-year, $24 million contract one of the few bright spots during another miserable season in Minnesota.
“Just thankful it wasn’t broken and just go from there,” Hughes said. “It’s sore right now and I’m sure it will be worse tomorrow. I’m just happy it should be all right in a few days.”
NOTES: Chicago’s Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a double in the fifth. ... White Sox bench coach Mark Parent is not with the team for the series due to family reasons. ... With regular 3B coach Joe Vavra’s hip ailing, the Twins have been using 1B coach Scott Ullger at third and Paul Molitor at 1B. Molitor is leaving the team this weekend to attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown so the Twins called up Sam Perlozzo to coach 1B for the rest of the weekend. Perlozzo is the team’s minor league instructor. ... The White Sox send LHP John Danks (8-6, 4.35) to the mound on Friday night against RHP Kevin Correia (5-12, 4.76).