James Shields picked up his first win as a member of the White Sox in what was easily his most effective start since being traded from the Padres, and Chicago survived a five-run Minnesota ninth to claim a 9-6 victory on Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox returned to .500, at 39-39, and improved to 7-1 against the Twins this season.
"This is the best that he looked as far as just feeling comfortable," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Shields, who exited after 93 pitches. "I think locating, he was getting ahead. He started really using his fastball, and he located it. I think after that there was some offspeed stuff, and he got guys swinging through it. This was a nice little thing to see. I'm sure it's a breath of fresh air for him."
Shields had allowed 24 earned runs over 13 2/3 innings in four starts since joining the club but yielded just one run over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking one. That one run came on the second pitch of the game, which Eduardo Nunez sent over the fence in left for a homer.
"It feels good," Shields said. "It's something to build off of. I don't really put too much emphasis on my starts. I just go start-to-start and go from there. But right now we've just got to win ballgames, and that's what it's all about."
"A good game got out of hand," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think that's frustrating. [Nolasco] did OK. He gave up the home run to Saladino there, but [we] got to a situation in the sixth inning where we're trying to get off the field, and I thought he had enough left to get the last out. Got the ball to third base that we couldn't make a play on, and from there the floodgates kind of opened."
Ventura needed three relievers, including Nate Jones, to escape the ninth. Eduardo Escobar stepped to the plate as the potential tying run and, after taking a good cut at a 1-1 fastball, flied out to left fielder Avisail Garcia.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Eaton lends a hand ... and an arm: With the White Sox holding a one-run lead in the fifth,Adam Eaton prevented the Twins from tying the score with his 11th outfield assist of the season. Kurt Suzuki opened the frame with a single and Nunez drove a ball toward the right-field stands two batters later that Eaton barely missed catching as he crashed into the wall. Eaton recovered quickly and threw a strike to the plate, easily nailing Suzuki, who basically was forced to keep running with Nunez approximately one step behind him. More >
Dozier does it:Brian Dozier's double to right with one out in the sixth set a Twins franchise record for consecutive games with an extra-base hit. Dozier now has extra-base hits in 10 straight games during an 11-game hitting streak. The hitting streak is a season high for Minnesota and matches the longest of Dozier's career.
"To be honest, I could really care less," Dozier said of his record-setting double. "It came in a good situation, where we could try to score another run with two outs, but we didn't win the game. I don't care how many extra-base hits we get." More >
Frazier doubles his pleasure: Frazier had two extra-base hits, the solo homer and a double -- his first double since May 23, after he hit 43 last season with the Reds. Frazier has two multihit games for the entire month of June.
"Overall, team hitting-wise, it was very nice today," Frazier said. "Everybody came around. It seemed like that one inning was a big inning for us. We batted through the lineup. It was nice, real nice to see."
Late rally: The Twins refused to go down quietly, scoring five runs in the ninth off the White Sox bullpen to bring the potential tying run to the plate before the final out was recorded. Max Kepler's two-run double with two outs highlighted the rally, pulling the Twins within three and driving left-hander Dan Jennings from the mound in favor of Jones.
"We kept playing," Molitor said. "Shields did a nice job overall after giving up the leadoff home run, and somehow we got the tying run to the plate there in the ninth inning. It was too big of a deficit."
QUOTABLE "We've got to throw strikes. That's pretty much it." -- Ventura, on a five-run Minnesota ninth that included two walks and an error on Lawrie
"No frustration. We just have to worry about ourselves, worry about winning, and eventually, the tides will turn." -- Frazier, on the rival Indians' winning streak
ONE IS THE LONELIEST LONG BALL NUMBER The three solo home runs hit by the White Sox gives them 13 straight without a runner on base dating back to Jose Abreu's three-run homer last Thursday in the seventh inning of a loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
ROOKIE SENSATION Anderson became the third White Sox player since 1913 to record nine multihit efforts over his first 18 games, joining Gus Zernial (1949) and Greg Mulleavy (1930). He also extended his hitting streak to six games.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: On Thursday, left-hander Tommy Milone will make his second Major League appearance since his contract was selected from Triple-A Rochester on June 18. Milone took the loss against the Yankees in his most recent start, on June 24 at Yankee Stadium, allowing four runs (one earned) in 3 2/3 innings. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. CT.
White Sox:Carlos Rodon is scheduled to make his 15th start of the season, eighth at home and second vs. Minnesota, on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. CT. He has gone 1-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 39 strikeouts over his last six starts at home (five quality).