White Sox cut direct path to win with crooked number
Offense capitalizes on mistakes with clutch hits
CHICAGO -- If anything defines the disappointment of the White Sox season, it's the offense's inability to consistently produce in the clutch and get the key hit to turn a rally into a big inning.
But everything that's been missing this season finally came together in the fourth inning Saturday night as the White Sox broke through for seven runs en route to an 8-2 victory over the Twins.
"One of the things we've been looking for is guys getting hits with guys in scoring position," manager Robin Ventura said. "It all happened in that inning. It just seemed to continue to go. [The Twins] made a couple of mistakes there and we capitalized on them.
"It's a nice inning. To see them continue, at-bat after at-bat, to put the ball in play and get something out of it is nice."
Actually, before the bottom of the fourth inning, this game appeared destined to be another in a long line of frustrating performances. The Twins grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning on two walks, an error, a passed ball, a botched rundown play and one hit.
But then the White Sox came alive in the fourth.
Trayce Thompson started things with a double to left field and Alexei Ramirez followed with a run-scoring single to make it 2-1. Mike Olt then added a single to put runners on first and second.
With no outs, Geovany Soto bunted to move the runners over. His bunt down the third-base line was successful and became even larger when third baseman Trevor Plouffe threw the ball away for an error to load the bases.
Carlos Sanchez then put Chicago on top for good when he doubled to left field to drive in Ramirez and Olt to make it 3-2. Adam Eaton singled to drive in Soto and Melky Cabrera followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2. After Jose Abreu flied out, J.B. Shuck drew a walk and that was all for Minnesota starter Tommy Milone (8-5).
Right-hander Blaine Boyer then came on to face Thompson. The rookie, who's feasted on left-handed pitching, kept things going by stroking an RBI single to right field to make it 6-2. The final run came across when Boyer's pickoff throw to third base got away, allowing Shuck to score.
"We just stuck with it," Thompson said. "Baseball is a game with no clocks. There's no quit in these guys. It was nice to get that inning. It was exciting, the crowd was getting into it and it was a lot of fun. It was a good night."
Thompson, who is batting .415, was most excited about the team win, but couldn't hide his excitement over getting two hits in an inning.
"That's happened to me a lot of times in my career," he. "I've never gotten two hits, though. I always make one out and then usually the last out and I was kind of trying to psych myself up and be like, 'You can do this.' It's just nice to help the team and contribute."
It was that kind of night for the White Sox.