Second baseman Brian Dozier hit two home runs and drove in four, right-hander Kyle Gibson hurled seven scoreless innings and the Twins claimed a 4-0 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. The win was the first for Minnesota against Chicago this season after losing the first six.
"We know from early in the year, they were tough on us," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "They knocked us around for six games, and they've been playing better of late. I know they'd won a couple series against some good teams here recently, so we talked a little bit about just trying to get back against some of these clubs that have beat us up a little bit early. It's a long way to go, but we came out and had a good game to start the series. It was big for us."
Dozier put the Twins on the board leading off the second with a towering home run to left. He gave the Twins control in the sixth, after White Sox starter Jose Quintana walked the left-handed-hitting Joe Mauer with two outs, by connecting on a three-run shot into the White Sox bullpen. Dozier has hit in a season-high 10 straight games.
"I think that was the mistake of the inning, because I tried to get the lefty and [not] throw against Dozier," Quintana said. "But a couple of pitches ran away to him. That happens when you make a mistake, just one [bad] inning."
"Thankfully, the offense did a great job of getting the lead, and not just a 1-0 lead," Gibson said. "[We] added on there in the [sixth]. At that point I can get right back in the zone, and [if I gave up] a solo home run there, [it] doesn't really matter. I was just getting the sinker in the zone and trying to keep them off-balance."
Quintana did not record a win for a ninth straight start, slipping to 0-7 with a 4.57 ERA during that run. He allowed four runs on six hits over seven innings, striking out eight, but could not produce a quality start for his second straight trip to the mound. Gibson fanned a season-high seven and walked one over 107 pitches.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Wasted opportunity:J.B. Shuck and Tim Anderson opened the third inning with back-to-back singles, but the White Sox could do nothing with that, as Adam Eaton and Jose Abreuflied out to center and Melky Cabrera popped out to second. The White Sox entered the night with 12 hits in their last 90 at-bats with runners in scoring position, and they did nothing to help that mark with an 0-for-8 showing.
"Any time we seemed to get something going against Gibson, he just really started ... using your aggressiveness against you," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's part of what played into it. He had a very good changeup, he used his curve when he had to. He went a little bit backwards."
Bull Dozier: This is Dozier's ninth straight game with an extra-base hit and his third career two-homer game.The last time he hit two home runs in a game was May 24, 2015, also against the White Sox. Dozier has six multihit games during his current hitting streak.
"I've been feeling pretty good at the plate for a while," Dozier said. "Some of those bleeders keep falling in. I'll take those bleeders [that land] in the bullpen, as well." More >
Cabrera exits early: Cabrera, arguably the White Sox hottest hitter of late, didn't come out for the start of the seventh inning due to soreness in his left wrist. Jason Coats took over in left field for Cabrera, who is listed as day to day. He hurt this same wrist diving for a fly ball during a loss in Cleveland on June 18.
"Yeah, he's got something," Ventura said. "When he swings and misses, there seems to be some irritation there. Even in the outfield, I think [Dozier's] second home run, he hit his hand out there. Just took him out to figure out what it is and where I'm going to go from here."
Gibson sharp: Gibson not only picked up his first win this season, he continued his mastery of the White Sox, improving to 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA in eight career starts against them. He's won all four career starts he's made at U.S. Cellular Field, where he's now 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA.
"Maybe it's just [that catcher Kurt Suzuki] and I have a good plan against these guys," Gibson said. "I don't really know. But I just kind of had all the pitches working tonight, and I think I only shook Kurt off twice. He called a great game, and the defense played great behind me."
QUOTABLE "I was chasing out of the zone, and I looked terrible up there. We did a lot of chasing today, and he got us." -- White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, who is now hitting .198 after going 0-for-4 on Tuesday
"Do I like hitting fourth? I like hitting." -- Dozier
VANQUISHED BY FAMILIAR OPPONENTS Tuesday's loss to the Twins dropped the White Sox to 5-18 over their last 23 games against American League Central opponents. They are 1-6 against the Indians, 2-7 against the Royals, 2-4 against the Tigers and 0-1 vs. the Twins during this stretch. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco will make his 16th start of the season on Wednesday night in the second game at U.S. Cellular Field. Nolasco went 6 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on 10 hits and four walks against the Phillies in his last start (June 23). He's 1-3 with a 6.29 ERA in six career starts against the White Sox, including a loss on May 6 after allowing seven runs in five innings.
White Sox:James Shields makes his fifth start with the White Sox on Wednesday night. He is 0-3 with an 18.73 ERA, .435 opponents average and 3.31 WHIP in his last five starts (0-2, 15.80 ERA in four starts with Chicago). His ERA has gone from 3.06 to 6.22 during that span.