Two-out hits helping boost White Sox
MINNEAPOLIS -- Two-out hitting hasn't been the White Sox strong suit this season -- the team's .232 batting average with two outs entering Wednesday and the five runners it left on in two scoreless innings Tuesday speak loud enough.
"[Two-out hits] are always important," manager Robin Ventura said after the game. "You feel like you always leave them out there."
But the White Sox recovered, scoring four of their six runs with two down, representing a step in the right direction for a team that's had a tough time generating offense -- let alone two-out runs.
"When you get two-out hits, it hurts the other side. We know what it feels like when it happens to us," Ventura said. "Any time you add on and just get those to fall or squeak through with two outs, you kind of wear away the other side."
Down, 2-1, in the sixth inning, catcher Geovany Soto came through, driving a two-out 0-2 pitch into center field to plate Melky Cabrera. The next inning, Cabrera delivered the go-ahead single with two outs.
The White Sox tacked on two more runs with two outs in the eighth and ninth innings on doubles from Adam Eaton and Gordon Beckham, respectively.
Most of the team's clutch hitting came in the later frames. In the first inning, the White Sox loaded the bags with one out only to see Cabrera go down on three pitches and shortstop Alexei Ramirez bounce into a routine forceout.
"After the first inning, you can fall into the trap of [thinking], 'It's not happening,' and guys stayed with it," Ventura said. "Melky had a big one just to put us ahead, and then guys added on."
Breaking away with two outs also enabled Ventura to stay away from closer David Robertson, who pitched in three straight games from Friday through Sunday.
"When you can produce with two outs, it's very important because that is a difficult moment," slugger Jose Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo on Tuesday. "You probably have the inning on the line, and for us, it's important. It's important any time you can produce after two outs. We did it today. I don't know how to explain, but we did it today, and it's a good first step."