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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: Twins lose opener to White Sox

CHICAGO --  Alejandro De Aza homered twice and Chris Sale pitched into the eighth inning as the White Sox topped the Twins 5-3 on Opening Day at U.S. Cellular Field. 

Jose Abreu went 2-for-4 with an RBI in his big league debut for Chicago.  Sale struck out eight over seven-and-a-third innings of three-run ball for the win.  Matt Lindstrom worked the ninth for his first save.  Ricky Nolasco was touched for 10 hits and all five runs in six innings of work to take the loss for Minnesota.  Kurt Suzuki went 2-for-4 with three RBI for the Twins.  Aaron Hicks also had two hits and scored twice in defeat.  Twins are now off until Wednesday when they face the White Sox again in Chicago with a 1:10 p.m. first pitch.

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The Twins announced yesterday that they placed left-handed pitcher Brian Duensing on the Paternity List.  To replace him the Twins recalled right-handed pitcher Michael Tonkin from Triple-A Rochester.  In seven spring training games with the Twins, Tonkin threw 8.1 scoreless innings.

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 DeAndre Jordan's 11 points, 24 rebounds and four blocks helped the Clippers cruise to a 114-104 win against the Timberwolves at the Target Center.  Darren Collison had a game-high 28 points with seven assists, while Chris Paul posted 22 points, nine dimes and seven boards.  Los Angeles is two games behind the Thunder for the second-seed in the West.  Kevin Love put up 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists in the loss.  Nikola Pekovic left after only seven minutes of action with an ankle injury.  With a second straight loss, Minnesota fell back under .500 at 36-37.

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Mikko Koivu scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period as the Wild clipped the Kings 3-2 at Staples Center.  Matt Moulson lit the lamp 1:02 before Koivu's tally.  Zach Parise also scored for Minnesota, which has won two in-a-row.  Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 18 of the 20 shots he faced in the victory.  Alec Martinez and Justin Williams both scored for the Kings, who had a six-game winning streak snapped.  Jonathan Quick allowed all three goals on 20 shots in the setback.

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The injuries are continuing to mount for the Wild as they make their way down the homestretch in the NHL regular season.  Coming into last nights game in Los Angeles, the Wild were already down another goaltender as Darcy Kuemper suffered an upper-body injury in yesterday's pregame skate.  The Wild went and signed 43-year old Rob Laurie to a professional tryout agreement so he could back up Ilya Bryzgalov against the Kings.  Then in the game itself, both Nino Nidderreiter and Mikael Granlund both left the game with what Mike Yeo called upper-body injuries.  They join Keith Ballard, Clayton Stoner, Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding as players already on the sideline for Minnesota.  Wild next take the ice Thursday in Chicago to wrap up their current four game road trip.

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Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed defenseman Christian Folin to a two-year, entry-level contract. He is expected to join the Wild in Chicago on Minnesota's current road trip.  Folin, 23, recently finished his sophomore season at UMass Lowell where he led River Hawks defensemen with 20 points (4-16=20), including three game-winning goals and two power-play goals, in 41 games, totaling a plus-10 rating and 31 penalty minutes (PIM). The 6-foot-3, 215-pound native of Gothenburg, Sweden helped the River Hawks win the Hockey East conference tournament before ending the season with a loss to Boston College in the NCAA Northeast Regional Final. The right-handed shooting defenseman recorded 21 points (6-15=21) in 38 games during his freshman season, ranking sixth in scoring amongst Hockey East defensemen and Hockey East Freshmen in 2012-13. Before joining the River Hawks, Folin played two seasons with the Austin (Minn.) Bruins of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), totaling 41 points (12-29=41) in 87 games. In 2011-12, he recorded 31 points (11-20=31) and a plus-45 rating and 50 PIM, being named to the NAHL All-Central Division Team. He began the 2010-11 season with the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League, totaling four points (2-2=4) in 12 games.

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The University of Minnnesota men's basketball team will battle the Florida State Seminoles tonight in the Final Four of the NIT.  Tip-off at Madison Square Garden in New York City is set for 8 p.m. Central, with the game televised nationally on ESPN2.  The Gophers are 23-13 on the year and advanced to the Final Four of the NIT with wins over High Point, Saint Mary's, and Southern Mississippi.  The winner will take on either Southern Methodist or Clemson on Thursday night for the NIT title.

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