White Sox 4, Twins 3.
That statement alone will turn some heads as the Sox defeated Minnesota this afternoon for the first time in 2011 after dropping nine in a row dating back to last year. It also broke a four-game Pale Hose losing streak on their current homestand.
In a game that was headed toward another Twinkie victory, a couple of clutch two-out hits (I’m not kidding) in the late innings turned the tide. In the eighth, Carlos Quentin delivered a single to tie the score at 3-3 and Alexei Ramirez, who homered in the first to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead, singled to center in the ninth. It scored A.J. Pierzynski from second for the game-winner.
Former Twin Jesse Crain got the win after pitching a perfect ninth. Starter Mark Buehrle authored another fine performance, but got the no-decision. All three Minny runs off of Buehrle were unearned.
Can the Sox make it two in a row and split the four-game series? Jake Peavy will try to do it tomorrow before the Sox head into the All-Star break.
Sox Note of Note: One negative on the day. Backup catcher Ramon Castro suffered a broken hand on a play in the eighth inning, setting the stage for Pierzynski to enter the game. No official announcement has been made, but it’s likely Tyler Flowers will be called up from AAA Charlotte to replace him.
It doesn’t rival one of those extra inning walkoff losses, but last night’s defeat to the Twins was tough to take. Ozzie put it this way: “Hard to watch.”
The Sox finally sustained a rally by scoring five runs in the first after the Twins got on the board with a run in the top half of the inning. But Gavin Floyd, who hasn’t shown much lately, couldn’t hold the lead. He was gone after 3 2/3 innings and was responsible for two more runs–seven in all–when the immortal Luke Hughes took Will Ohman deep for a three-run homer.
After the six-run Minnesota fourth, it was Twins 8, Sox 5–and that was the final score. The home team showed absolutely no life in their last six at bats.
That’s nine losses in a row against the Twins, 28 of the last 34, and four straight to K.C. and Minny on this homestand.
The All-Star break can’t come soon enough.
Minnesota 1, White Sox 0.
There’s not much left to say. We just can’t beat the Twins, even without the majority of their starters in the lineup. We’re now 0-4 against them this season, scoring a total of three runs.
Our stay in the Twin Cities amounted to one run, 11 hits and two losses. We drop to four games under .500 and 5 1/2 in back of the division lead.
Mark Buehrle was excellent this afternoon, giving up only a Michael Cuddyer homer and three other hits. But there was more frustration on offense as we got shut out for the seventh time and grounded into two more double plays, both stalling potential rallies. The clutch hits just weren’t there–again.
Interesting pitching matchup tomorrow night in Phoenix as we reprise interleague play against the D-backs. It’ll be Edwin Jackson (4-5, 4.39) for the Sox vs. the man they gave up last summer to get him, young Daniel Hudson (7-5, 3.82).
Peavy will do what it takes
There is no “i” in team and apparently no “i” in Jake Peavy. Before last night’s postponement, the Sox injury-plagued righthander said the following about his pending return from the DL:
“We’re sitting here talking about me coming back, and I’m telling Don Cooper and these guys, ‘I’ll do whatever needs to be done.'” If I need to go to the bullpen and help out there, we have five starters doing their thing. I certainly think I can be a leader in the rotation as well and be as good as these guys have been. But I’ll do whatever it takes because there is no weak link right now on this team. We’re swinging the bat offensively. We’re starting to catch the ball and play fundamentally a lot better than we did early in the year.”
What do KW and Ozzie think? Word is that they think it’s too early to make the call.
You knew someone would bring it up and who better than Ozzie?
After all those years playing in what was a house of horrors for the White Sox, the skipper put it all in perspective:
“Where’s the Metrodome when you need it?” Ozzie, of course was referring to the fact that last night’s game wouldn’t have been called if the Twins still played indoors.
Finally, something positive for the Sox to say about the Twinkiedome.
Here and there…
No makeup date has been determined for the rainout…Gavin Floyd and Carl Pavano will still be the starters…Jesse Crain, an important Twins contributor for several years, is making his first trip back to his former baseball home since joining the Sox…Ozzie on Brent Lillibridge: “Can he show us he can play every day? Well, that would be nice. If you can produce very day, I’ll get you the shot. But, right now, we have to wait and see”…KW on Dayan Viciedo: “It would be awfully interesting to have him in this lineup. He’s ready. He’s obviously got some things he still needs to work on, but I would have no qualms about bringing him here.”
The Minnesota Twins are in strange territory for the middle of June. They are 13 games below .500 and in the basement of the A.L. Central as they host the White Sox for three games beginning tonight.
No Joe Mauer. No Joe Nathan. No Jim Thome. No Denard Span. No Jason Kubel. A different Justin Morneau. No Francisco Liriano (he won’t pitch in this series). Slumping Delmon Young and Danny Valencia and no Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch from a year ago. The pesky Nick Punto isn’t around anymore either.
Sounds like good news for the Sox, right? Wrong. As long as there are players wearing Twins jerseys, we can’t take anything for granted. And mark my words, they will give us fits.
There’s still Carl Pavano, who starts tonight for Minny, the always-troublesome Michael Cuddyer, exciting rookie outfielder Ben Revere and although Morneau, Young and Valencia aren’t yet themselves, it’s a good bet they’ll snap out of it against the Pale Hose. They always do, evidenced by the Twins 25-11 record against the Sox the last two seasons. The Twinkies also have rebounded a bit, having won eight of their last 10 games.
Gavin Floyd will be on the mound tonight for the South Siders in an attempt to get this six-game road swing off to a good start. A 4-2 trip in Minnesota and Phoenix will put us at .500. Hopefully we can do better than that.
The White Sox go into the upcoming season as one of the favorites to win the A.L. Central, but it’s not going to be a cakewalk. The Tigers have improved, the Twins have lost a number of key components but are always strong and the Indians and Royals seem to be making strides as well.