Ramirez’s double caps White Sox’s rally
For the Chicago White Sox, two-out hits had been as elusive as victories over the Minnesota Twins.
On Saturday the White Sox were able to get both.
They tied the game in the eighth on a two-out single by Carlos Quentin and then won the game in the bottom of the ninth on another clutch two-out hit by Alexei Ramirez to finally beat the Twins 4-3.
"They’ve done it to us all year and that’s how they’ve been beating us is by getting two-out hits," said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzyski who led off the ninth with a double and then raced in to score game winner on Ramirez’s hit to center, just beating Ben Revere’s throw to the plate.
"To come back. That game had the same old feel of the way we had lost a lot of games to these guys," Pierzynski said.
"You got to send me right there. If the guy makes a great throw and he throws you out, you gotta go. We all know I don’t have the best speed in the world. Luckily Revere kind of threw a couple hopper to Joe (Mauer) and gave me a chance to get in."
It was Chicago’s first win over the Twins in seven meetings this season and ended a nine-game losing streak to Minnesota stretching back to last season.
Chicago’s win was just its seventh in the last 35 games against the Twins.
"You hear about it and you read about it. It starts to fester in there and then you get to a point where you almost try too hard because you want to end it and then it just snowballs," Pierzynski said. "We finally rallied and found a way in the last couple innings which is nice."
Pierzynski, who entered the game when Ramon Castro suffered a broken right hand on passed ball in the eighth inning, doubled off Jose Mijares (0-1) to start the ninth. After two fly outs, Juan Pierre walked and Alex Burnett relieved before Ramirez lined a single to center.
The loss of Castro put a bit of a damper on the victory celebration. He was hurt while Alexi Casilla was batting in the eighth.
"He was trying to bunt, at the last moment he took the bat out of the way and the ball hit me right on the knuckle," Castro said, adding he didn’t know if he needed surgery.
"I called fastball away and the ball was inside, I moved, and forgot to get my hand back behind me."
Jesse Crain (5-2) got three outs for the win.
Twins starter Brian Duensing allowed five hits and a pair of runs over seven innings in a duel with Chicago lefty Mark Buehrle.
Buehrle, who entered the game with a 25-19 career record against the Twins, his most wins against any team, allowed four hits and three unearned runs in eight innings with eight strikeouts.
Duensing called the matchup a learning experience, especially with how quickly Buehrle likes to work.
"Right from the get-go I was reminding myself to keep moving. Throwing against Buehrle helped. He works incredibly fast. I felt like as soon as I sat down in the dugout, I had to go right back out," Duensing said.
"If I’m able to continue to keep a quick pace, it’s easier for me to pitch because I’m not thinking too much, not second-guessing myself."
Jason Repko led off the eighth with an infield single to short, reaching first with a head first slide. A sacrifice moved him to second, he reached third on Castro’s passed ball and scored on Casilla’s fly to center for a 3-2 lead.
Twins reliever Glen Perkins hit Pierre to start the eighth and after a sacrifice, Paul Konerko was walked intentionally. Adam Dunn flied out with Pierre advancing to third. Joe Nathan was summoned and Quentin lined a single to left to tie the game. And in the top of the ninth, the White Sox right fielder made a nice running catch at the fence on a drive by Michael Cuddyer.
Ramirez hit his ninth homer to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the first. But the Twins got two in the third as Luke Hughes reached on an error by Chicago third baseman Brent Morel and Tsuyoshi Nishioka had a bunt single. After a sacrifice, Hughes scored on an infield out by Ben Revere before Casilla hit an RBI single.
" When it happened you’re kind of like ‘Here we go again,’" Buehrle said. "As a starting pitcher any time a guy makes an error behind you, you try to pick them up. I made a couple of good pitches . … You just try to keep the damage to a minimum."
Notes: Twins RHP Kevin Slowey, on the disabled list with an abdominal strain, will make a rehab start Sunday in Triple-A. Outfielder Delmon Young (ankle) is expected to rejoin the team after two rehab games this weekend. And RHP Scott Baker (elbow) will meet with doctors Tuesday to see if he will be cleared to pitch. … Revere made a nice diving catch of Quentin’s sinking liner in the seventh. … Former White Sox and now Twins DH Jim Thome struck out four straight times.