White Sox take series from rival Twins with home run in extra innings. The home run came off the bat of right fielder who continues to remain hot to start season.
The Chicago White Sox entered Easter Sunday at an even 5-5 mark. While the Sox pitching has been one of the best in the American League to this point, their offense has been very poor. Although they have two games in where they scored double-digit runs, they have averaged just two runs in their other eight games. The South Siders were looking to turn that around against former Sox starter Hector Santiago.
Ever since Santiago left Chicago in 2013, he has gone 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA against the Sox. He found himself going head-to-head with the Sox hottest starter in James Shields. Shields came into Sunday’s start with a 1-0 record and a great 1.69 ERA. He was looking to record his third consecutive quality start.
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It was a pitchers duel throughout as hitters on both sides looked foolish almost all day long. Santiago and Shields both cruised until some luck struck the Twins in the bottom of the 5th inning.
Notorius Sox killer Brian Dozier lead off the 5th inning with a rare inside the park home run. He crushed the ball to left center field as Sox center fielder Jacob May almost made a fantastic grab to rob Dozier but the ball knicked off his glove. The home run was Dozier’s second of the season, and his fourth in his career against Shields.
The Sox continued to struggle with scoring runs as the game went along. Entering the top half of the eighth inning, the Sox had gone their last 18 innings without scoring a run. Matt Davidson decided that streak had gone on long enough. He stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and one out against Twins’ reliever Matt Belisle. Davidson hit a medium deep fly ball to score the tying run in Jose Abreu from third base. The sac fly gave Davidson his team leading ninth RBI.
It would be a bullpen battle from there as the two top bullpens in the American League thus far went head to head. The Sox received scoreless appearances from Tommy Kahnle and Nate Jones; while the Twins Brandon Kintzler tossed a scoreless inning as well.
For the second time this season, the Sox entered extra-inning territory. They are 0-1 in that category as the Twins were playing their first extra-inning game of 2017.
Hard throwing right hander for the Twins Ryan Pressly began the 10th inning. He was attempting to do all he could to keep the game tied and try to let the offense walk it off in the bottom half. Unfortunately for Pressly, things would not turn out that way. After a leadoff double from Leury Garcia and a sac bunt from Tyler Saladino, the struggling veteran Abreu was in line to give the Sox the lead. He could not do so as he struck out, so the torch was passed to the hottest hitter in the majors in Avisail Garcia.
Garcia with already three hits on the day and hitting over .450 on the season, Twins manager Paul Molitor decided to roll the dice and pitch to the talented right fielder. The move back fired as Garcia clobbered an 0-1 Pressly fastball over the right field wall to give the Sox a two run lead. The home run was Garcia’s second on the year and it put him in front of Davidson for the team lead in RBI’s with 10.
Sox closer David Robertson came on to nail down a 1-2-3 10th inning and record his fourth save in four chances this season.
The win put the Sox over the .500 mark once again and gave them their second straight series win.
The Sox will head to New York to face the red-hot New York Yankees. This will conclude a nine game road trip for Chicago as they have fared very well in their first six games going 4-2.