White Sox 3, Twins 0
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Jose Contreras is glad to put his opening-day problems in the past.
Contreras pitched a five-hitter Thursday for his second career shutout, and the White Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins 3-0.
Tagged for seven runs by Cleveland in the opener, Contreras has bounced back nicely. Since then, he is 3-2 with a 2.29 ERA in six starts.
“I didn’t want to remember that. I forgot about that,” Contreras said through a translator. “I felt good. That’s the most important thing for me. I feel healthy.”
Contreras (3-3) struck out four, walked one and threw just 98 pitches—67 for strikes. His other shutout in 109 career starts was a three-hitter against Detroit on Aug. 11, 2006.
“We need that. He needs that,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “When he throws strikes, he’s really nasty. And he did that today.”
White Sox starters have lasted at least six innings in 16 straight starts— the longest active streak in the majors. Chicago finished its road trip 4-4 after losing the first three.
Torii Hunter went 0-for-4 to end his 23-game hitting streak, tied for the fourth-best in Minnesota history. He received a standing ovation after he flied out to lead off the ninth.
“Now I can swing hard again,” Hunter said with a smile.
Carlos Silva (2-3) took the loss despite pitching well for the Twins, who have lost six of their past eight games. He gave up three runs and six hits in six innings.
Silva has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his seven starts this season. He did that in only 13 of his 31 starts in 2006.
“It’s too bad we don’t win, but like I say every time, when you give your team an opportunity to win the game, it’s fine,” Silva said.
Both teams have struggled to score this season. Minnesota is missing defending AL batting champion Joe Mauer and Rondell White because of injuries, while Chicago is without slugger Jim Thome and leadoff man Scott Podsednik.
The White Sox entered Thursday’s game last in the AL in batting average and runs scored, while the Twins had hit the fewest home runs in the league.
Chicago outpitched Minnesota to win the final two games of the series, though. Rookie John Danks allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings to earn his first big league victory Wednesday night.
“We’re still not hitting the way we think we’re capable of, but we’re getting close,” Pierzynski said. “If we can keep our pitching going, we’re eventually going to get hot.”
Contreras allowed just one extra-base hit—Jason Kubel’s double in the third inning—and permitted only one runner past second base.
“We feel like we’re a better baseball team, but you have to play out on the field,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the fifth after arguing a play at the plate. “It doesn’t matter what people say about you. You have to play on the field.”
The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first when Ozuna singled, stole second and scored on Pierzynski’s sharp single.
Chicago added two more runs in the fifth, and Gardenhire wound up getting ejected.
Rob Mackowiak was hit by a pitch and stole second, and Sweeney followed with an RBI single. Sweeney later scored on a single by Ozuna.
Plate umpire Derryl Cousins tossed Gardenhire. The ejection was Gardenhire’s second of the season and 30th of his career.
“I love Gardy,” Guillen said. “He got so red.”
It looked as if Hunter would extend his hitting streak in the first inning when he lined a pitch up the middle. White Sox 2B Tadahito Iguchi was running over to cover second base because Nick Punto was running on the play, and caught the ball. Punto was doubled off first. … The last opposing pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout against Minnesota was Kansas City’s Mark Redman on Aug. 29, 2006. … The Twins are 9-11 at the Metrodome this season after leading the major leagues with a 54-27 home record last season.