Twins 8, White Sox 4
For the second straight night, the Twins made the defending champion White Sox look rather ordinary.
Justin Morneau’s two-run single followed Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen’s ejection and capped a five-run fifth inning for Minnesota in an 8-4 victory Saturday night.
“They were a little frustrated,” Morneau said. “We took advantage of the break. Sometimes you need that to win ballgames.”
Luis Castillo again served as the spark plug by going 3-for-5 with three runs and a homer. Everyone in the lineup had at least one hit for the Twins, who have won six of their last seven games. They overcame a 4-0 deficit with six singles and a disputed hit batter in a disastrous fifth for the White Sox and starter Javier Vazquez (4-2).
Brad Radke (4-4) was the beneficiary, evening his record despite an ERA that dipped slightly to 7.57.
“That’s a big win for us. We need to beat those guys,” said manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team climbed into third place in the AL Central but remained 6 1/2 games behind Chicago (23-12).
The White Sox, who have only two losing streaks this season, including a four-game skid in early April, have dropped three straight. They certainly weren’t worried about it, though Guillen was agitated long after his first hook of the year.
He said his biggest beef was being told by crew chief Dale Scott not to bother arguing, when he burst out to complain that Michael Cuddyer swung at the pitch that hit him.
“What is my job here? To make the lineup and watch the game?” Guillen said, during a profanity-filled rant to reporters. “Take me to a class like high school, and teach me what a manager can argue about.”
Shannon Stewart’s sacrifice fly cut the lead to 4-1 and left Vazquez with one out to get and one runner on in the fifth. Castillo barely beat out a dribbler in front of the mound, drawing the first argument from Guillen. Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter each drove in runs with singles, and Cuddyer loaded the bases on a pitch that grazed his chest. But Cuddyer was in the middle of a swing, and replays showed he came close to going all the way around.
Guillen thought so, and he was ejected after yelling at the first base umpire Scott. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was angry, too, and pitching coach Don Cooper was ejected from the dugout by plate umpire Ron Kulpa. Then Morneau came through with his big hit to give the Twins their first lead.
Whatever the correct call, Guillen was just mad that the umpires brushed him off so quickly.
“They have more power than we do. I think that’s wrong,” he said.
Castillo’s two-out, two-run shot barely cleared the big blue wall above right field in the sixth, chasing Vazquez and giving Minnesota a 7-4 advantage. After surrendering two runs or less and lasting six innings or more in five of his first six starts, Vazquez yielded 10 hits and seven runs while striking out two—raising his ERA a full run to 3.88.
“We don’t panic,” Vazquez said. “We lost today, but we’re all confident. You’re going to have some tough stretches over 162 games.”
Mauer’s RBI single made it 8-4 in the eighth, and Francisco Liriano struck out four in 2 1-3 innings of scoreless relief for the Twins.
Most of Chicago’s well-hit balls were right at somebody, as evidenced by three sacrifice flies—by Joe Crede, Paul Konerko and Jim Thome. Scott Podsednik had two hits and two runs and Jermaine Dye hit a two-run single against Radke, who had better location but still wasn’t satisfied with his start.
With Johan Santana in dominant form, having struck out 10 in seven innings of a 10-1 victory on Friday, the Twins needed Radke to perform like the No. 2 starter they’re paying $9 million for this year—and not the way he threw in six of his first seven outings.
Radke didn’t exactly sparkle, allowing eight hits, four runs and two walks while striking out one in 5 2-3 innings before yielding to Liriano. But Radke— who has allowed 66 hits in 44 innings—minimized the damage, allowing his teammates the opportunity to come back.
“Sitting back in the weeds, waiting for something to happen,” Hunter said. “All of a sudden, it just opened up.”
The Twins lead the majors with 41 infield hits this season, and Castillo—whose home batting average leads the league at .439—has a team-high 10. … With Guillen and Cooper sent to the clubhouse, bench coach Tim Raines had to go to the mound to make the pitching changes. … Morneau stole his first career base in the seventh.