The White Sox entered Friday night on a three-game losing streak. With the Twins embarrassing the Sox earlier in the season, I felt it was important for the Sox to get off to a good start. That didn't happen.
Jeff Samardzija was very shaky in the first inning. Torii Hunter lined a single with one out in the first and came around to score on a Joe Mauer double. Mauer stole third without a look or a throw and scored on a Trevor Plouffe sacrifice fly to put the Twins up 2-0 in a hurry. Samardzija threw a ton of pitches in that first inning. Things looked bleak.
The White Sox tied the game up in the fourth. Adam LaRoche led off with a walk. After Conor Gillaspie flew out and Alexei Ramirez lined out, J.B. Shuck extended the inning with an infield single. Geovany Soto would tie the game with a shot over the third base bag. Shuck took a chance coming home and slid in just ahead of a strong throw from left fielder Eddie Rosario.
In the meantime, Samardzija had settled down and went into cruise control. After Eduardo Escobar led off the second with a walk, Samardzija knocked down the next 17 Twins hitters, until Escobar singled with two outs in the seventh. Samardzija came back out for the eighth and worked a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the last two batters he faced. Samardzija's final line: 8 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K's, 118 pitches. It was the second straight start that Samardzija has gone eight innings.
Even after all of that, he was in line for the no-decision because Phil Hughes was busy throwing up zeroes himself. Paul Molitor called on lefty Aaron Thompson to start the eighth, and he got LaRoche to ground out to the mound. Robin Ventura called for Gordon Beckham to pinch hit for Gillaspie, and Beckham worked a walk. Molitor then went with Michael Tonkin to face Ramirez. Alexei lined a single to right, his third hit of the evening, to put runners on the corners with one out. Up stepped Shuck, who was in the lineup for the ailing Avisail Garcia. Shuck dropped the bat on a low fastball and lofted it to center field, deep enough for Beckham to score to give the Sox a 3-2 lead.
David Robertson was called upon to pitch the ninth and threw a perfect frame, striking out Trevor Plouffe to end the game.
- Ramirez had three hits and a stolen base on the evening.
- Samardzija's nine strikeouts were his White Sox high.
- I don't think I've ever felt more comfortable in the ninth inning as when Robertson takes the hill.
- Soto's double was the only extra base hit.
- Jose Abreu singled off the wall in left to extend his hitting streak to 17 games.