MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Chicago White Sox woke up their lagging lineup.
Jeff Samardzija appreciated the support — and enjoyed the show.
Samardzija struck out seven batters in seven innings for just his second win in nine starts on the road this season, and the White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2 Tuesday to snap a seven-game losing streak away from Chicago.
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”This is the kind of game that we expect every day to have,” said Jose Abreu, through his translator, after a career-high four hits.
Geovany Soto had two RBI singles and Melky Cabrera drove in the go-ahead run on a two-out single seventh to give Samardzija (5-4) the victory, sending Twins starter Mike Pelfrey (5-4) to his first loss in seven starts at home this year. The White Sox stopped another slide by topping three runs for the first time in 10 games, their longest such run since 1976.
”After the first inning you can fall into the trap of `it’s not happening,’ and guys stayed with it,” manager Robin Ventura said.
The White Sox had eight of their 15 hits with two outs for four RBIs. They had two-plus hits with runners in scoring position for the first time in 19 games, going 5 for 16.
”I don’t know how to explain it, but we needed it today,” said Abreu, who’s batting .393 in his last 14 games.
Samardzija has allowed 19 first-inning runs, the most in the majors, in 15 starts. Eddie Rosario added to the total with a homer, but Torii Hunter grounded into a double play with two runners on.
”That was huge, for sure. You’ve got to make those pitches if you want to have a good day,” said Samardzija, who gave up eight of his majors-most 118 hits allowed.
He won for the first time in six starts since May 22, which was also against the Twins, by logging seven innings for the fourth straight turn.
”You know you’re probably going to have to find a way to hold on, because he gets stronger as the game goes on,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Hunter was hit by a two-out pitch in the fourth inning, advanced on Eduardo Nunez’s infield single and scored on Kurt Suzuki’s double to give the Twins a 2-1 lead, but Nunez was out easily trying to score from first on assists from Cabrera in left field and Alexei Ramirez at shortstop.
Suzuki grounded out with two on and two out in the sixth. Byron Buxton was caught trying to steal second after a one-out single in the seventh, thanks to a sharp throw by Soto. Ventura raved about Samardzija’s ability to keep Buxton from taking a large lead.
Pelfrey’s ERA at home this season is still a sparkling 1.80. He allowed 10 hits, three runs and three walks in 6 2/3 innings, but Cabrera’s sharp single on a 1-0 sinker made his night look less impressive after Molitor visited the mound and pondered a change.
”I knew coming in that it was going to be tough with him on the mound and how good he is. He outpitched me. That’s the story right there,” Pelfrey said.
The White Sox also ended a six-game losing streak at Target Field during which they were outscored 55-14.
NO REST FOR RAMIREZ
Ramirez has been slumping as badly as anyone for the White Sox, batting .170 in his last 14 games, but Ventura said he doesn’t see any fatigue.
”There are times when you do give him that day, and I don’t think this is that time,” Ventura said.
BUXTON BACK DOWN
After tallying three runs on three hits the night before, his first game in the leadoff spot, Buxton batted ninth again because of the challenging right-against-right matchup with Samardzija. Molitor, on whether he considered leaving Buxton at the top: ”The fan in me was.”
White Sox: RHP Matt Albers will start a rehab assignment Wednesday with Triple-A Charlotte, one step closer to returning from a broken little finger on his right hand.
Twins: RHP Ricky Nolasco finally received the orthotic device to relieve pain in his right ankle. He threw lightly before the game and will take the mound later this week.
Chris Sale (6-3, 2.74 ERA) will pitch for the White Sox Wednesday in the series finale, having struck out at least 12 batters in each of his last five starts to match Pedro Martinez (1999) and Randy Johnson (1998) for the major league record.
Phil Hughes (5-6, 4.47 ERA) will start for the Twins, coming off his strongest appearance of the season. He beat the Cubs with eight innings and one run on two hits.