Relaxed Semien picks good time to bust slump
CHICAGO -- Marcus Semien broke out of his early-season slump in a big way Thursday against the Twins.
With the game tied and one out in the eighth, Semien stepped to the plate having started the year 0-for-13 and launched a 2-2 fastball from Minnesota reliever Caleb Thielbar past the Sox bullpen in left. The Sox wound up losing the wild, back-and-forth game, 10-9, but Semien was briefly the hero with what was a timely first hit of 2014.
"I was just trying to be a little bit more quiet and keep my head on the ball," Semien said. "I've been seeing lefties a little bit better since Spring Training, and they threw me a fastball middle in and I put a good swing on it and barreled it up."
Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Thursday's game he thought Semien was pressing a bit at the plate. Prior to the home run, Semien picked up his first RBI with a bases-loaded walk in the sixth after falling behind in the count, 1-2. Semien said that tough seven-pitch at-bat, in which he fouled off a couple of quality two-seam fastballs, seemed to relax him.
"In that situation, [I had] one out, runner on third, which I've had a lot of times and I didn't come through the last couple of times," he said. "So it felt good to get on base and get a run in at the same time."
Semien made a good bid for a hit Opening Day, when he rocked a Ricky Nolasco pitch into the left-center-field gap but was robbed of extra bases by left fielder Josh Willingham, who made an over-the-shoulder catch.
"That's why it's the big leagues, they make plays behind their pitchers just like we do," Semien said. "You've got to earn your hits."