MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Those 10 days off sure didn’t hurt Nelson Cruz’s swing.
Whatever’s been thrown his way this season, Minnesota’s designated hitter has rarely been deterred.
Cruz homered and drove in three runs on four hits in his second game back from a wrist injury, yet another powerful performance at the plate by the 39-year-old for the Twins in a 14-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
Max Kepler hit a two-run homer to stay one ahead of Cruz for the team lead, starting pitcher Michael Pineda (9-5) stayed strong for seven innings, and the Twins raised their lead on Cleveland in the AL Central race to three games. That’s the biggest it’s been in two weeks.
Cruz, who gave the Twins a scare by rupturing a tendon in his left wrist during a swing in a game against the Indians on Aug. 8, returned from the minimum stay on the injured list on Monday. He’s 6 for 11 with four RBIs after his reinstatement, pushing his age-defiant season totals to 33 home runs and 80 RBIs in just 89 games.
Cruz, who signed with the Twins for $14 million this year with a club option for 2020 at a market-bargain $12 million, has 15 homers in his last 20 games. He hit a career-high three doubles in this one and became the first Twins player since Michael Cuddyer in 2005 with four extra-base hits in a game.
IOWA CITY — Iowa redshirt freshman D.J. Johnson hopes to be money in the cash position. It is a position named by defensive coordinator Phil Parker. The Hawkeyes replace a linebacker with a defensive back who must cover as well as be a factor in the run game. It has allowed Iowa to remain in its traditional four man front even against modern day spread offenses.
Parker says the term cash was used to distinguish it from their nickel and dime packages.
It is a position Amani Hooker played so well he left early for the NFL after being named the Big Ten’s top defensive back. Johnson hopes to follow in his footsteps.
Johnson feels the cash position fits his style.
Iowa opens the season August 31st hosting Miami of Ohio
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Candace Parker had 20 points and 10 rebounds for her third double-double, Chelsea Gray added 17 points, and the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx 81-71 on Tuesday night.
Los Angeles used a 23-4 second-quarter spurt to take a 49-32 lead at the break and opened the second half on a 17-4 run for a 30-point advantage.
The Sparks scored just six points through the first 8 minutes of the fourth quarter as Minnesota pulled to 74-67 on Lexie Brown’s fourth 3-pointer of the game. But Parker answered with a 3 and the Lynx did not get closer than eight points from there.
Alexis Jones scored a career-high 15 points — all in the first half — for Los Angeles (16-10). Nneka Ogwumike added eight points and eight rebounds for the Sparks, who have won nine straight at home.
Brown led Minnesota (13-15) with 20 points, and Napheesa Collier added 14. The Lynx have lost three straight.