Twins pull out chilly, 10-inning victory in Chicago
Doumit tallies winning run on error; Worley tosses seven strong frames
CHICAGO -- It has been anything but an ordinary week for the Twins, who have had three of their last six games postponed because of fierce April weather in the Midwest and threw an off-day into the mix. But they've battled back from a five-game losing streak with three straight wins, capped by Saturday's 2-1, 10-inning victory against the rival White Sox.
Fourteen games into the young season, the Twins sit at .500 in an American League Central that is yet to see a team separate itself from the pack. Saturday's win was fueled by an excellent start from right-hander Vance Worley, held up by the bullpen and punctuated with a costly White Sox throwing error.
"It has been a weird stretch," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was a tough day out there offensively, but that's because the pitching was good on both sides. You just have to scratch your way through it and get a win one way or another."
For much of the game, with temperatures in the low 40s, it was a question of whether Worley's fine start would go to waste. The Twins left 15 men on base, and were a measly 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. They left men in scoring position in the fifth and sixth against Jake Peavy, who was also fantastic in throwing a season-high 117 pitches, and again in the eighth and ninth against the Chicago bullpen.
"You look at our offense and you look at our lineup, there's no holding us down," said Ryan Doumit, who scored the winning run in the 10th. "We're getting the pitching that we need. Our pitching's done an outstanding job of keeping us in games and letting our offense do our thing."
It was a 1-1 game when Doumit doubled to left to lead off the 10th. Two batters later, Eduardo Escobar hit a grounder to short that resulted in White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez one-hopping the throw to first base. Jeff Keppinger had just moved over from second base in a defensive switch that inning -- only 37 of his career 695 defensive appearances have been at first -- and he couldn't pick the ball cleanly. Doumit was advancing on the play and was able to score without a throw.
"I slid into third because I wasn't sure if he was gonna try to make a play on me," Doumit said. "The second I looked up, I saw Keppinger's back, I saw his numbers and the ball on the ground and it was a no-brainer."
It was the first run of the game since the Twins tied it at 1 in the third on Josh Willingham's RBI single. The White Sox scored their only run in their first at-bat, when Alejandro De Aza led off the first with a homer to right.
It was the first home run that Worley has allowed this year, and the righty cruised the rest of the way.
"He was attacking the strike zone," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "We had never faced him and I know he's got a really heavy sinker, but he actually stayed away on everybody."
Worley struck out seven in what amounted to his best start of the young season. He scattered five hits over seven innings, matching Peavy pitch for pitch. The 2007 National League Cy Young winner also went seven, striking out nine while allowing just the one run. Glen Perkins pitched the 10th, earning his fourth save of the year.
"Worley matched [Peavy]," Gardenhire said. "Did a heck of a job. That was fun to watch, and then you get down to all the stuff there at the end, everybody trying to figure out a way to score a run."
Said Worley: "I was able to command both sides of the plate today, and everything broke the way I wanted it to. Better results."