White Sox 6, Twins 3
But the news—announced after the victory—that ace Mark Buehrle had agreed to a four-year contract to stick with the White Sox made it even better.
“Everyone is real happy for him and his wife. He deserves it. He is what the White Sox are all about. We’re glad it got done,” Vazquez said. “We didn’t want to lose him because everyone knows how valuable he is.”
After Buehrle pitched eight shutout innings Saturday to cool off the Twins, Vazquez followed it up by allowing eight hits and three runs Sunday. The White Sox earned a split of the four-game series after giving up 32 runs Friday when Minnesota swept a day-night doubleheader, 20-14 and 12-0.
“It’s awesome. As a pitcher, throwing a complete game is what you work for,” Vazquez said, adding that working quickly, like Buehrle, was a bonus.
“Getting that done and saving the bullpen and doing it quickly so everyone can make their flight, that’s pretty good,” he said.
All three homers came off Twins starter Carlos Silva.
“We had a few opportunities early, missed a couple of chances, but other than that, Vazquez was very good,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Silva had just one bad inning. Gave up five runs, it kind of takes away from you being aggressive out there.”
Vazquez (6-5) gave up Justin Morneau’s 24th homer, struck out eight and had no walks.
The disappointing White Sox finished 39-47 at the All-Star break. Minnesota, the defending AL Central champion, goes into the break 45-43 and in third place behind Detroit and Cleveland.
“The White Sox organization is showing people we are trying and we aren’t going to throw the white flag,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said, referring to the signing of Buehrle. “Hopefully these guys continue to keep playing hard and make this thing more fun.”
Minnesota, which overtook Detroit last season to win the AL Central, also needs to play better in the second half, especially with two teams to catch— the Tigers and Indians. The Twins wrapped up their pre-break schedule with an 11-game road trip, finishing 5-6 against the Tigers, Yankees and White Sox.
“This was a tough stretch,” Minnesota’s Michael Cuddyer said. “Three tough teams, tough cities. Not exactly where we wanted to be, but we still have our head above water and we still have a chance.”
The Twins are eight games behind first-place Detroit and trail Cleveland by seven.
Silva (6-10) gave up 10 hits and six runs in five innings on a 90-degree day at U.S. Cellular Field.
Mackowiak led off the third with his fifth homer for a 1-0 lead. Tadahito Iguchi hit a two-out RBI single to score Luis Terrero, who’d doubled, before Thome connected on his 14th to make it 4-0. Konerko followed with his 18th homer down the left field line for a 5-0 cushion.
Minnesota threatened again in the fifth with runners at second and third with one out. But Vazquez got called third strikes on Jason Bartlett and Mauer.
Chicago got a run in the fifth using a single by Thome, passed ball on Mauer, infield out and a sacrifice fly by A.J. Pierzynski for a 6-2 lead. Morneau homered in the sixth.
Nick Punto’s two-out double in the third ended a streak of 24 straight batters retired by Vazquez. He’d set down the final 16 batters in a complete-game win over Baltimore last Tuesday. … Silva has now yielded 21 homers to the White Sox in 17 career appearances. He is 0-3 against Chicago this season and 4-9 lifetime. … Chicago RF Jermaine Dye missed his second straight game with flu-like symptoms.