Shuck delivers big hit to give White Sox first win
J.B. Shuck's pinch-hit single off of Blaine Boyer scored Alexei Ramirez with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, as the White Sox claimed a 5-4 victory over the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field Saturday afternoon. The victory was the White Sox first in five tries this season.
The inning should have been over on Ramirez's two-out grounder to shortstopDanny Santana, but first baseman Joe Mauer couldn't corral Santana's high throw and Ramirez was credited with a single. Conor Gillaspie followed with a double, setting up Shuck.
Jeff Samardzija had one poor inning out of the seven he worked, but that rough second produced four runs on five hits for the Twins. Chris Herrmanntripled in one run, while Shane Robinson, Santana and Brian Dozier added run-scoring hits. But that 4-0 Minnesota lead didn't last long.
The White Sox scored two in the second off of Minnesota starter Mike Pelfreyand added one each in the third and fourth to tie the game. Both Adam LaRoche and Geovany Soto hit their first home runs in a White Sox uniform.More >
Samardzija allowed those four runs on eight hits over seven innings and 113 pitches, striking out six. He gave up just two singles in his last five innings. Pelfrey yielded four runs on seven hits in five innings.
"Going into the game I knew after yesterday I needed to go deep in the game, so I just needed to calm down and understand that the goal in the game was to give that bullpen a rest today," said Samardzija of lasting seven innings. "We only had to use two guys, so hey, we'll chalk that up as a plus but it's nice to know you can still get better."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Not keeping it in the park: Pelfrey gave up leadoff home runs to LaRoche and Soto in the second and fourth innings. Pelfrey allowed just 13 home runs -- tying the second-lowest total in the American League -- in 152 2/3 innings in 2013. He missed most of 2014 after undergoing elbow surgery on June 10.More >
Big hit: Herrmann drove in the Twins' first run of the game on his first career triple in the second inning. Herrmann returned to the Twins' lineup after suffering a cut above his nose when a foul tip hit his catcher's mask on Thursday against the Tigers. Herrmann did have 18 triples in the Minors.
Coming to life: Samardzija finished a four-run Minnesota second with a strikeout of Mauer and a scream into his glove. Maybe it was a battle cry that woke up the White Sox, or maybe they were just tired of getting knocked around by the opposition. Whatever the reason, the White Sox put up two runs on four hits in the second against Pelfrey. At one point, LaRoche, Garcia, Ramirez and Gillaspie connected on consecutive pitches, three of them for hits. More >
Defensive gems: The final line for Samardzija might have looked slightly different if not for some stellar White Sox defense in the fifth. Dozier opened the inning with a line drive headed toward left, but Ramirez timed his leap perfectly and got about as far off ground as he possibly could to make the catch. Mauer followed with a line drive to left that Melky Cabrera grabbed over his head, on the run. Ramirez took away another hit opening the eighth, snaring Mauer's line drive off of Zach Duke.
"We saw all facets of the game today," Samardzija said. "We saw some great defense -- obviously with Melky and Alexei there in the fifth for me and throughout the game. The bullpen pitched great and we put a bunch of hits on the board and scored some runs. It was a great game for the team and just happy to be part of it."
"It came down to we missed that one play and they end up pinch-hitting. There's always potential to think about putting a guy on. His numbers weren't too good from what we looked at, right or left, so we went ahead and tried to get the out." -- Twins manager Paul Molitor, on his strategy in the bottom of the eighth
"Listen, the expectation level is what it is, and we had guys sign up for this, come here for this particular reason, because they wanted that on themselves. They wanted to be in a winning situation. Well, we're here. Now we've got to execute and we've got to play up to those standards. And we simply have not. That's got to change."-- White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams
Walk this way The free pass drawn by LaRoche in the third inning was just the sixth walk this season for the White Sox hitters in five games. They have fanned 32 times.
Swing Early Pelfrey's first pitch to Micah Johnson in the second, marking the ninth hitter he faced Saturday afternoon, was just his 17th pitch overall.
Replay Review The White Sox challenged a safe call on Jordan Schafer's attempted steal of second in the fourth, and the call was overturned. Soto's throw and Johnson's leaping tag represented the first caught-stealing for White Sox catchers this season in 10 attempts.
Twins: Phil Hughes, Minnesota's Opening Day starter, will take mound. He allowed four runs in six innings in his season debut against the Tigers. The Twins will try for the series win at 1:10 CT on Sunday.
White Sox:Chris Sale makes his 2015 debut after suffering an avulsion fracture in his right foot during a home accident in Arizona on Feb. 27. Sale struck out 20 over two Minor League games thrown in Spring Training. More >