After a disappointing end to the homestand, the White Sox headed north tonight to kick-off a four game set against the last-place Minnesota Twins. Behind a solid outing from Hector Noesi and some timely hitting from a host of players, our Sox were able to bounce back from the two losses to the Royals and take the first game of the series in Target Field 5-2.
Noesi On the Mark
We’ve seen Hector have outings where he’s capable of shutting down opponents, and we’ve seen him where he’s capable of walking enough guys to host a charity event. Thankfully, tonight was the former, and he was really on top of his game.
Through seven innings, Noesi allowed just two Twinkies to reach base: a walk to Chris Parmelee and a bloop single off the bat of Trevor Plouffe that just barley nicked off the glove of a hustling Alejandro De Aza in left field. So, theoretically, Noesi could have had a no-hitter entering the eighth, where he began to tire a bit. Parmelee had the first solid hit of the night, and two batters later, Danny Santana finally put the Twins on the board with a home run to right. He was immediately lifted for Daniel Webb, who retired the next hitter.
It was Noesi’s eighth quality start of the season in 16 outings. That’s not a great percentage, but it far exceeds what I think anyone expected when the team acquired a guy who allowed 10 runs in just 6.1 innings of work with Texas and Seattle before coming over. When he’s able to locate that moving, 94mph fastball like he did tonight, he’s certainly a viable option.
Offense Comes Through
The Sox pounded out 11 hits against Twins pitching tonight, scoring all five runs without the luxury of a homer. That requires some clutch hitting, which the Sox did by going 4-for-12 with RISP.
Adam Dunn had maybe the most important at-bat of the game in the fourth inning, and it wasn’t even one that drove in a run. He lined a pitch off the leg of Twins starter and ten-game winner Phil Hughes, who had to leave the game for Samuel Deduno, who entered the contest with a 6.89 career ERA against the Sox. In four innings of work, the Sox were able to plate three runs (two earned) off Deduno, plus the two off Hughes in his three innings.
Adam Eaton continues to stay hot at the plate despite playing with a broken finger, going 3-for-5 with two RBI and lifting his average to .286. Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers drove in the other two runs, while Ramirez and Conor Gillaspie each tallied two hits. Jose Abreu doubled for the 24th time this season to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, and Gordon Beckham got himself a much needed double.
Petricka Shuts the Door
Earlier today I wrote about how the Putnam injury could pave the way for Jake Petricka to get some extensive work as closer, and Robin Ventura did not hesitate to go to him with the three-run lead. He didn’t disappoint, having an easy, 11 pitch 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts to record his fifth save in six chances.
In his last two times out in the ninth, Petricka has looked more comfortable in the closer’s role than anyone has all year for this ballclub. As of now, it’s starting to look like Petricka’s emerging as the team’s best option, and I’d expect for him to get more cracks at it moving forward.
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