Cuban Missile goes ballistic, Sox win third-straight
By James Fegan
Maybe Alexei Ramirez is really devoted to the implied roles of every spot in the batting order. Per traditional White Sox performance from the No. 2 spot, he swung a wet paper towel for most of the season, but in 11 games since being switched to No. 3 hole in the absence of Alex Rios, he’s slugging .574 after a 3-4 day that saw him finish a triple short of the cycle.
Ramirez accounted for four of the White Sox’ five runs, knocking in three (including himself once) and scoring once more, and was helped along by two doubles from Avisail Garcia, who knocked Ramirez home with a two-bagger in the third, and came around to score after another one in the seventh inning thanks to a Jeff Keppinger single. Combined with Hector Santiago lugging himself through six innings, magically allowing only two runs, it made for a 5-2 White Sox win over Minnesota that felt about as easy as it gets.
That’s three in a row. Bud Selig needs to do something to restore competitive balance, lest inaction becomes his legacy.
Hector was flying open and zipping his fastball into random locations, pretty much from get. His one strikeout came right after allowing a 500-foot foul ball to Josh Willingham in the first, he walked double that amount and he eclipsed 100 pitches in the fifth inning. After allowing two doubles and a walk in the third, and getting further betrayed by a Jeff Keppinger error, he escaped the inning with only run allowed when his ball-four breaking ball skidded through the back stop, but not far enough away that Josh Willingham “racing” home became a good idea. Credit Santiago and Phegley’s recovery for saving a run on a tag at the plate, but it didn’t portend future pitching greatness.
Sure enough, Santiago was battling through another bases loaded situation in the fifth, escaping only when Trevor Plouffe and Oswaldo Arcia popped out consecutively. Despite already being over 104 pitches, Santiago came out for the sixth, delighting fantasy owners everywhere, but raising anxiety after he allowed a leadoff double to Wilkin Ramirez. He swiftly wrapped things up from there and got his quality start before giving way to two uniquely crisp innings from Matt Lindstrom and a save from Addison Reed. Jake Petricka, a local product, did not make an appearance in the series.
– Both of Garcia’s doubles were lifted into the air, and he also took a four-pitch walk when CB Bucknor decided to start squeezing Ryan Pressly in the eighth. It was pretty clearly his most productive day in a White Sox uniform.
-The Twins hit a whopping 2-18 with runners in scoring position, as a result Hector Santiago’s ERA went down to 3.27 while all of his peripherals are screaming.
-Ramirez now has three home runs in the second-half. Of the White Sox, only Adam Dunn has more.
Team Record: 49-74
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