Sox 6, Twins 1: Role Reversal

The White Sox defeated the Twins the way the Twins usually defeat the White Sox.  Zach Stewart scattered 8 hits in his 6 1/3 innings pitched to pick up his first Major League victory in his first start with the Sox and the Sox ran Drew Butera, Carl Pavano and Joe Nathan right out of the ball park with 4 stolen bases.  The game also featured a dominant Sox bullpen performance and a 4 run 9th inning to put the game out of reach.

Stewart and Pavano each went 4 scoreless innings without much of a threat.  In the 5th the Sox got things going.  With one out, Brent Morel drew his 4th walk of the season and Juan Pierre followed it up with a single to right.  Morel stopped at second even though he would have made it easily into 3rd and after Alexei Ramirez flew out to center Morel was on the verge of being the goat.  Paul Konerko bailed him out though with a smash single to left, which scored Morel.  Juan Pierre stole third and Butera's throw was missed by Danny Valencia allowing PIerre to score.  Adam Dunn then struck out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 5th, Delmon Young led off with a rocket off the wall in left.  Pierre got to it, fired it to second to nail a sliding Young.  Replays showed that Young was safe, but it was still the greatest throw that Juan Pierre has ever uncorked.  Matt Tolbert then singled.  Stewart attempted to pick him off, but Dunn whiffed on the throw allowing Tolbert to get into 2nd.  Butera was then hit by a pitch, putting 2 men on for Denard Span.  Span hit a chopper to Beckham who flipped to Ramirez to get the force putting men at 1st and 3rd for Joe Mauer.  After Span stole second to put the tying runs in scoring position, Stewart got Mauer with an inside fastball that handcuffed the former batting champ to end the inning.

The Twins threatened again in the 6th as Jason Kubel singled with one out.  Jim Thome then hit a smash to first, but Dunn apparently couldn't get his glove down to snag it.  Thome ended up with a double.  Valencia then lined a single to center, but Thome being the base clogger that he is had to stop at 3rd.  Young then hit a soft grounder to 2nd that Beckham charged and fired to Ramirez who made a beautiful turn at the bag and gunned Young out at 1st for a smooth 4-6-3 to end the inning.

In the 7th, with Stewart still on the hill, Tolbert hit a check swing grounder that Morel made a beautiful stop on over 3rd base, but Tolbert beat the throw.  Butera laid down a nice sac bunt and Ozzie Guillen wasted no time in calling in Chris Sale to face Span and Mauer.  Span was retired on a grounder to 2nd and Mauer followed with a grounder to short, ending the inning and putting Stewart in line for the win.

In the 8th, Michael Cuddyer ripped a lead off double into the right center field gap and moved to third on a wild pitch. With the infield in, Kubel grounded to 2nd freezing Cuddyer.  Thome chopped one to first which Brent Lillibridge, who was inserted for defense, fielded and stepped on the bag holding Cuddyer again.  With 2 outs, Jason Frasor was brought in to face Valencia and he aced him 3 times as Valencia went down looking without swinging during the at bat.

In the top of the 9th, the Sox put the game out of reach.  Alejandro De Aza led off with a single to left and stole 2nd.  After Morel struck out, Pierre walked.  Joe Nathan was brought in to face Ramirez and with Ramirez battling, a ball squibbed away from Butera.  De Aza and Pierre both took off and Butera threw it passed 2nd base as he tried to nail Pierre.  De Aza took off for home and beat Tolbert's throw to score the Sox 3rd run.  On ball four to Ramirez, Pierre stole 3rd base to put men at 1st and 3rd for Konerko.  Ozzie started Alexei, and looked like a genius when Konerko grounded to short.  In what would have been a sure double play, Pierre crossed the plate as Tolbert's only play was at first.  With the Sox now up 4-1, defensive offensive replacement Lillibridge capped off the inning with a dinger to left field that barely cleared the wall to make it 6-1. 

Sergio Santos came in for some work and got a 1 2 3 inning to end the game and give the Sox the rare series victory vs. the Twins.  

* Alex Rios was 3-5

* The Sox stole 4 bases (Pierre 2, Rios, De Aza)

* There was very little hard contact off of Stewart, who impressed in his Sox debut.  He normally sat around 91 but did reach 94 on multiple occasions.

* Gordon Beckham made a couple of nice plays at 2nd.  

 

WP: Zach Stewart (1-1)

LP: Carl Pavano (6-9)

HR: Lillibridge (8)

Jake Peavy faces Brian Duensing as the Sox try to sweep the Twins tomorrow at 1:10. 

Record: 54-58| GB: 6.5| Box

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