White Sox 5, Twins 4
A shift in strategy worked out well for the Chicago White
J.J. Hardy was nailed at the plate for the final out on an
unorthodox relay, and the White Sox held off the Minnesota Twins
5-4 Sunday to end a four-game losing streak.
Hardy singled with two outs against Bobby Jenks and took off
when pinch-hitter Jim Thome lined a shot into the left-center field
gap. With the Chicago infield drastically overshifted to the right
side for Thome, Hardy figured no one would be in good shape to make
the relay home.
“It was a different play,” Hardy said.
But third baseman Mark Teahen put himself in position to take
left fielder Juan Pierre’s throw. Teahen’s strike to catcher A.J.
Pierzynski arrived in plenty of time, and Hardy was beaten by so
much that he didn’t slide or go barreling home.
“With Thome up you’ve got the guys playing shift, the third
baseman is kind of playing shortstop,” Hardy said. “There’s a
ball to the left-center gap, third baseman goes back to third base,
so now there’s no one for the relay from Pierre. I’m running as
fast as I can.
“It just turned out that Teahen goes back out there as the
relay guy. It’s probably a play that no one’s ever practiced it and
it worked out for them,” he said.
The speedy Pierre hurried to track down Thome’s drive, which
went as a single.
“Right off the bat, we’re a little deeper in the outfield with
no doubles in that situation, Thome is Hall of Famer for a
reason,” Pierre said. “I just thought about getting the ball in
as quick as possible. I knew they were probably going to be sending
him, a ball in the gap, man on first, no-brainer to send him, and I
just turned and threw.”
“I saw Teahen and chucked it to him and got it out of my hands
so I couldn’t get blamed. He made the relay, but I was shocked
about how far away he was from home when Teahen got the ball,” he
Thome had plenty of clutch hits for the White Sox during his
four-year stint before signing with the Twins in the offseason, but
Chicago decided not to re-sign him and moved to a more
“I was praying for Hardy to try to steal second so we can pitch
around Jim to face (Nick) Punto, but it didn’t work out that way.
It was an interesting game to win,” White Sox manager Ozzie
Pinch-hitter Andruw Jones singled home the go-ahead run in the
eighth. Mark Buehrle (2-0) pitched eight innings and Jenks held on
for his first save.
Paul Konerko hit a two-run homer, and Mark Kotsay and Gordon
Beckham had solo shots for the White Sox.
Joe Mauer doubled twice for the Twins, who finished a
season-opening road trip 5-2 and are set to open Target Field
against the Boston Red Sox on Monday.
Buehrle settled down after the third inning for another strong
start, allowing four runs and eight hits. He walked two and struck
Nick Blackburn (1-1) pitched 7 2-3 innings, allowing five runs,
eight hits and one walk.
With two outs in the eighth inning, Blackburn gave up
back-to-back singles to Konerko and Carlos Quentin. After
left-hander Jose Mijares replaced Blackburn, Jones batted for
Kotsay. Jones singled to left and Quentin scored, just beating
Delmon Young’s throw.
After pitching seven scoreless innings in Monday’s opener
against Cleveland, Buehrle gave up two runs in the first inning.
With one out, Orlando Hudson singled and moved to third on Mauer’s
double, and both scored on Justin Morneau’s single.
Blackburn couldn’t hold the lead in the bottom of the first.
With two outs, Quentin doubled and Konerko followed with his third
homer of the season to tie the score.
Denard Span led off the third with a double, and scored one out
later on Mauer’s double to left. With two outs, Mauer scored on
Michael Cuddyer’s single to put the Twins up 4-2.
Blackburn couldn’t hold the lead again.
Kotsay homered with two outs in the fourth to pull the White Sox
within one, and Beckham tied the score on the first pitch in the
NOTES: Hardy made a nice pickup on Konerko’s grounder in the
fourth inning to start a double play. Hardy fielded the ball behind
second base and flipped the ball to second baseman Hudson, who
barehanded while on the bag and threw to first to get the second
out. … Jones broke out of an 0-for-7 slump with his first hit of