CWS@MIN: Twins strike early on Mauer's solo home run

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins rank in the middle of the pack in home runs this season, but they have been on a tear with homers recently.

The Twins lead the Majors with 29 homers dating back to July 27, with the Tigers ranking second with 28. They also homered in 10 straight games, which was their longest streak (which ended Sunday) since homering in 11 consecutive games from Aug. 7-18, 2007.

Minnesota also has seven different hitters with at least 10 home runs, which is the most for the club since 2004, when nine different players hit at least 10.

"We've got guys who can hit home runs," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If you look at our home-run list, I don't know even know how many guys we have with 10 home runs. We don't have a 40-home run guy at the moment, but we have some guys who can pop them. So it's just one of those streaks."

Gardenhire has been pleased by the homers, but he said he'd like to see an improvement with runners in scoring position. The Twins are hitting just .234 with runners in scoring position this year, which ranks as the fourth-worst mark in the Majors.

"You want balance up and down the lineup," Gardenhire said. "The biggest stat for us this year is runners in scoring position. We've missed a lot of opportunities. So home runs are all good and fine, but we need to come through in RBI situations."

Ramirez starts in center to give Thomas a breather

CLE@MIN: Thomas makes difficult catch on the run

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins gave Clete Thomas a break against the White Sox on Sunday, as he had started every game in center field since rookie Aaron Hicks was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Aug. 1.

Thomas was held out of the starting lineup in favor of Wilkin Ramirez, who made his first start in center since May 25. Ramirez sustained a concussion in that game after running into left fielder Josh Willingham, and didn't make his return until being activated from the disabled list on Monday.

With Hicks in the Minors and Ramirez on a rehab assignment, the Twins didn't have a backup for Thomas until Ramirez was reinstated.

"Clete has played every inning and every out since Hicks left," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's done a really nice job for us. So I think he should get a little breather today. We need to see how Ramirez does out there. He needs some playing time out there."

Ramirez went 2-for-4 with a double during the 5-2 loss.

Worth noting

• Twins general manager Terry Ryan refuted a report that right-hander Vance Worley will be shut down for the rest of the season with shoulder problems. Ryan said that Worley, who hasn't pitched since July 7, will throw a bullpen session on Aug. 20.

• The Twins promoted right-hander Kohl Stewart, the No. 4 overall pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft, from the Gulf Coast League to the Rookie-level Elizabethton Twins. Stewart posted a 1.69 ERA with 16 strikeouts and three walks in 16 innings in the Gulf Coast League before the promotion.

• The Twins named Class A Advanced Fort Myers first baseman D.J. Hicks the organization's Minor League Player of the Week after he hit .435 with two homers and eight RBIs in eight games. Hicks, 23, is hitting .308/.403/.471 in 28 games with the Miracle this year.

• Twins fans can get a chance to watch top prospect Miguel Sano on Monday, as Fox Sports North will televise Double-A New Britain's game against the Trenton Thunder at 6 p.m. CT. Sano, 20, is ranked as baseball's No. 3 overall prospect, according to MLB.com.