Determined Twins rally late for first victory
Colabello drives in six runs before Arcia's triple caps two-run ninth
CHICAGO -- It was a crazy, back-and-forth game that saw near-freezing temperatures at U.S. Cellular Field, but with the way it finished, no one in the Twins' clubhouse was complaining about the weather or what had transpired.
The Twins were down to their last strike in the ninth inning against closer Matt Lindstrom, but Trevor Plouffe delivered a game-tying RBI single to set the stage for a go-ahead triple from Oswaldo Arcia, which downed the White Sox, 10-9, on Thursday afternoon.
It was a game that featured several late lead changes, including the Twins tying it in the top of the eighth on a solo homer from Josmil Pinto, only to see left-hander Caleb Thielbar surrender a go-ahead solo blast to Marcus Semien in the bottom of the inning.
But in the end, Plouffe and Arcia came through in the clutch, and the Twins were able to hold on in the ninth to avoid being swept and pick up their first win of the season.
"A wild one," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Both teams really got after it. There were some good things and some bad things, but both teams really gave all they had to win that ballgame, and fortunately we came out on top with some big hits. Neither team really gave up, so I'd say it was a really fun baseball game."
The Twins entered the ninth down by a run but rallied against Lindstrom. Josh Willingham drew a one-out walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Jason Bartlett, who advanced to second on a groundout from Chris Colabello, who had set a career high with six RBIs.
Plouffe then came through with an RBI single on a 3-2 fastball from Lindstrom before Arcia delivered a deep drive to center field just out of the reach of Adam Eaton to bring home Plouffe. Arcia's triple to center was hit almost exactly as hard as one he hit in the seventh, only to see it be caught by Eaton to rob him of an extra-base hit that would've tied the game.
"I was just trying to hit the ball hard," Arcia said, with Colabello serving as translator. "After he caught the first one, I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but I knew I put a good swing on it. Plouffe had a great at-bat, and thank God the second one fell."
Twins closer Glen Perkins, who blew the save in Wednesday's 7-6 loss in 11 innings, was called on for another save opportunity in the ninth, and this time he came through despite Dayan Viciedo reaching third on a bloop hit that landed just fair down the right-field line, with Arcia getting charged with an error on the throw to second. But Perkins got Alexei Ramirez to line out hard to shortstop before getting pinch-hitter Paul Konerko to ground out to end the game.
"We needed that win," Plouffe said. "Yesterday was a heartbreaker for us. We wanted that win, but it didn't work out. So to respond like we did was a good sign."
The Twins had lost the lead earlier in the game, as right-hander Anthony Swarzak came in to pitch the sixth inning, with Minnesota clinging to a 5-4 lead. But Swarzak struggled, loading the bases with one out before walking Semien to tie the game and surrendering a three-run triple to Jose Abreu on an 0-2 curveball.
The Twins rallied for two runs in the seventh, when Nate Jones walked Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer to lead off the inning. Right-hander Maikel Cleto came in and gave up an RBI groundout to Colabello and a two-out RBI single to Plouffe.
"We had a couple of opportunities to kind of shut them down and left a couple of pitches up, and they took advantage of them," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, who had four hits.
The Twins saw a strong showing from Colabello, who gave Minnesota an early 3-1 lead on a three-run double on an 0-2 fastball from White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana in the third inning. Colabello later added a two-run double off Quintana to give Minnesota a 5-1 lead.
"It wouldn't have happened if I didn't have guys on base in front of me," Colabello said. "I had two strikes on all three of those at-bats, so that's something I've really keyed in on. I'm just trying to cut down with two strikes, and thankfully it worked out."
Right-hander Phil Hughes, who gave up a solo homer to Alejandro De Aza in the second, was in line for the win in his first start with the Twins since joining the club on a three-year, $24 million deal this offseason. But he ran into trouble in the fifth, surrendering an RBI double to Abreu and a two-run homer to Adam Dunn to make it a one-run game.
But the Twins still emerged with the victory, and in the process gave Gardenhire career win No. 999. Gardenhire, though, said he's not thinking about getting to win No. 1,000.
"I'm just glad we won after losing two," Gardenhire said. "Yesterday was a tough loss, so I just want to start winning. I want a winning atmosphere in here. These guys are having a lot of fun today, and that means more than anything else."