Hahn's best laid plans result in first win of '15
Samardzija, Shuck and other offseason acquisitions key White Sox
CHICAGO -- Rick Hahn was not around postgame to comment on the White Sox 5-4 victory over the Twins before 22,317 Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field, marking the team's first win in five games this season.
But if the White Sox general manager did issue a statement, it probably would have read something like, 'Yes, that's exactly how I intended this season to look, minus the four-run deficit in the second.'
Eight players who were not on the active roster at the end of last season contributed to this comeback effort against Minnesota. Jeff Samardzija worked around that four-run second to allow only two singles over the next five innings and lasted 113 pitches to save the bullpen. Zach Duke earned the victory with one scoreless inning, while it was pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck who drove in Alexei Ramirez with the game-winner on a single to left with two outs in the eighth.
Shuck worked in place of Geovany Soto, who launched his first White Sox homer in the fourth and did a solid job catching with Samardzija. Adam LaRoche added his first homer to open an important two-run second, while Melky Cabrera made a running, over-his-head grab of Joe Mauer's liner in the fifth. Even Micah Johnson, who finished 0-for-3 at the plate, made a leaping tag of Soto's throw to nail Jordan Schafer stealing second in the fourth, marking the first White Sox caught stealing this season.
Then, there was David Robertson, who closed out the victory by striking out Chris Herrmann swinging and Shane Robinson and Schafer looking in the ninth. Not a bad way for the new guys to complement the old guard.
"It was definitely a team win. You can't say enough about how hard our guys fought," Robertson said. "Jeff struggled early in the game, came back and pitched his butt off. The bats came alive and scored some runs. Big pinch-hit by J.B. Shuck that gave us the lead and that's all we needed."
"This was a good team-building game right here," Shuck said. "I think we're going to roll with this one."
Even when the White Sox were getting beat up by the Royals, and then looked awful against the Twins, they stood behind the theory that this team knew it was good. It held up even stronger than the 'It's still very, very early' rationale.
On Saturday, they showed glimpses of that potential excellence on the field. It was just as Hahn planned during his countless offseason maneuvers.
"No secret, today was our first victory. But it's a really long season," Soto said. "A lot of stuff can happen. We've just got to focus one day at a time. I know it sounds cliche, but really that's how you have to take it. We got a win today. Try to get a win tomorrow."
"These guys, it's been tough for four games," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "There are a lot of new faces for our fans to see. Guys that really competed today. It's tough when you are down 4-0 to be able to fight back and grind it through like that."