White Sox 5, Twins 1
Buehrle won his third straight start with a five-hitter to lead the White Sox to a quick 5-1 victory over the struggling Minnesota Twins on Thursday.
Keeping the Twins from creating any momentum off their 11th-inning comeback win the night before, the White Sox got an early lead for Buehrle and—after a game that lasted just 2 hours, 6 minutes—left with a smile and their first series victory at the Metrodome since September 2000.
“We’d have loved to get a sweep, but two out of three is great,” first baseman Frank Thomas said. “It really is.”
“Against a good offensive club, he hit his spots, changed speeds and kept the ball down,” Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. “He was outstanding. We’ve always seen quality, but this time there was dominance.”
Buehrle (5-10) struck out a career-high nine and walked two, losing his shutout on Corey Koskie’s RBI double in the ninth inning.
“The way we’re going now—winning three in a row—sure, it feels good,” Buehrle said. “It always feels different when you’re winning.”
The Twins, losers of four straight series and nine of their last 13 home games, seem to have lost that feel—putting manager Ron Gardenhire on edge.
“We thought we’d come out with a little more fire,” Gardenhire said. “I know Buehrle pitched very well, but it was disappointing the way we went after the game like that. I didn’t think we had much out there. Guys were lobbing balls between innings.
“It’s pretty frustrating to watch.”
Denny Hocking, who singled in the ninth and scored on Koskie’s double that missed landing in the seats by inches, was taken aback by his manager’s comment.
“If he doesn’t think we came to play, he ought to look at the tape and see how Mark Buehrle was pitching,” Hocking said.
Buehrle, who won 35 games over the past two years, gave up a career-high 10 runs against the Twins at the Metrodome in an 18-3 loss May 16. He bottomed out June 11 at home against San Francisco after allowing eight runs in 4 1-3 innings.
Since then, he’s helped pitch the White Sox back into the AL Central race behind Kansas City and Minnesota.
“Our gameplan offensively was the opposite of the way he pitched,” said Dustan Mohr, who had one of the three hits that left the infield. “He really didn’t throw as hard as he normally does. He changed speeds really well.”
For the second straight start, Brad Radke (5-7) turned in a pretty good performance without getting a win—allowing four earned runs and seven hits in eight innings.
Sandy Alomar singled up the middle with two outs in the third, and Jimenez hit a long fly to left-center that Jacque Jones and Hunter converged on but couldn’t get to. Hunter unsuccessfully tried to make a backhanded stop, and the ball trickled far enough away to allow Alomar to score on the double.
Rowand followed with a sharp single to right that drove in Jimenez and made it 2-0.
With two outs and two on in the sixth, Valentin doubled home two runs and then scored on an error by Luis Rivas, giving the Sox a 5-0 lead.
An accurate relay throw could’ve easily got Brian Daubach at the plate and kept Chicago’s lead at three, but it was high and up the line and skipped past catcher Matthew LeCroy to allow Valentin to score.
The miscue by his second baseman really had Gardenhire steamed.
“Good God, that guy is out by 10 yards,” said Gardenhire, who with third-base coach Al Newman has had to get on Rivas about his concentration in the field this year. “You could have turned and just lobbed the ball to the guy. We throw it down the line and into the dugout. That’s not ready toplay.”
The Twins are 10-13 this month. They haven’t had a losing record in June since 2000. … Chicago, after starting the season 9-21 on the road, has won seven of 10 away from home. … Twins SS Cristian Guzman, who has some swelling—but not pain—in his knee, was given a rest. … Paul Konerko subbed for Thomas at first base and went 0-for-4, dropping his average to.188.