MLB: Twins avoid getting swept by White Sox
CHICAGO -- Minnesota Twins rookie right-hander Trevor May could've crumbled in a tight situation Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field. Instead, he used a mound visit by pitching coach Rick Anderson to reset his pitch selection and escape a fou...
CHICAGO -- Minnesota Twins rookie right-hander Trevor May could’ve crumbled in a tight situation Sunday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.
Instead, he used a mound visit by pitching coach Rick Anderson to reset his pitch selection and escape a fourth-inning jam with three straight strikeouts in the Twins’ 6-4 win against the Chicago White Sox.
After giving up two runs on four straight hits to start the inning, cutting Minnesota’s lead to 4-2, May didn’t let it get any worse. He allowed just one more run in his six-inning performance and set a new career high with 10 strikeouts to earn his third straight win.
“I’ve always kind of been a strikeout guy and being aggressive has allowed that to happen,” May said. “Getting the first couple strikes and then giving them some of my best stuff when I’m ahead has translated into some swings and misses, and it was biggest in the fourth, to be able to get those (strikeouts). To get out of that inning and hold the lead was a big thing for me.”
It was also big for the Twins (63-86), helping them snap a four-game losing skid to salvage the final game of the series against the White Sox (68-81).
May, who was ranked by Baseball America as the Twins’ eighth-best prospect, was dominant other than the start of the fourth. He didn’t walk a batter, struck out four in a row on two separate occasions and posted just the second double-digit strikeout performance of the Twins’ season.
“He had the one inning where he got himself (into) a little jam,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenshire said. “(Anderson) went out there and told him to trust his stuff and pitch off the fastball, and after he started doing that again, I think you saw him go right through them and it was a nice performance by him.”
Right-hander Hector Noesi (8-10) took the loss for Chicago, which had a four-game win streak end. The win gave Minnesota its second straight victory in the season series against Chicago, edging the White Sox 10-9 in 19 games this year.
Third baseman Trevor Plouffe went 1-for-3 and hit a home run for the second straight game and center fielder Jordan Schafer hit a two-run homer in the fourth to lead the Twins offensively.
First baseman Jose Abreu led Chicago offensively. He went 2-for-4 with his 35th homer and drove in two runs.
The solo homer off Minnesota left-handed closer Glen Perkins in the ninth also tied Ron Kittle for the most home runs by a White Sox rookie.
Third baseman Conor Gillaspie also went 1-for-3 with an RBI for Chicago and catcher Adrian Nieto hit his second career home run.
“All my respect goes to Ron Kittle,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “Unfortunately I’ve met so many people that I’m sorry, I don’t recall having met him. But my respects to him for having had the rookie year he had. Now that we share a record, I’m really proud of the accomplishment.”
The Twins saddled the White Sox with a 4-0 deficit for the second straight game and then had to battle to keep the lead. Minnesota got two runs off Noesi in the second on three hits, highlighted by Plouffe’s solo homer, and added two more in the fourth on Schafer’s first homer of the season.
Chicago got the two back against May to start the fourth on RBI singles by Abreu and Gillaspie, but those three straight strikeouts ended the rally abruptly. Nieto’s homer in the fifth made it 4-3, but that was as close as the White Sox would get.
Minnesota’s bullpen took care of the rest, bolstered by insurance runs in the seventh and ninth. Perkins, who blew his sixth save in the nightcap of the doubleheader Saturday, closed it out in the ninth for his 34th save.
Noesi went 6 2/3 innings for Chicago and allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks. It was his first time allowing that many runs since Aug. 15, when the Toronto Blue Jays also scored five runs off him.
“I’m feeling fine,” Noesi said. “I was just off a little bit with my mechanics. I’m trying to stay there and give my team six or seven innings.”
NOTES: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said RHP Anthony Swarzak will likely make the spot start Monday against the Detroit Tigers that was created when LHP Tommy Milone (neck soreness) could not pitch. ... Gardenhire gave rookie 1B Kennys Vargas the day off Sunday, after he went a combined 0-for-8 in the doubleheader. Gardenhire also said starting 2B Brian Dozier was showing signs of wearing down as the doubleheader wrapped up. ... White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he would not pitch ace LHP Chris Sale on short rest just to get him an extra start to boost his chances in the race for the American League Cy Young Award. ... Ventura said he thinks rookie 1B Jose Abreu should still be considered for the American League’s MVP award despite the White Sox’s subpar season as a team. ... Veteran 1B Paul Konerko (broken bone, left hand) is targeting his return to action for either the end of the next series at the Kansas City Royals, or the start of a series that starts Friday in Tampa Bay.