The White Sox are happy to have Minnesota in their rearview mirror, and not just because it’s a flat, frigid land populated by flat, frigid people.
The Twins, who have a 7-6 edge against the Sox this season, are playing their best ball of the year, evidenced by their 5-1 record against the South Siders since the All-Star break. Pitching was the story of their most recent series at the Metrodome this weekend, which Minnesota won 2-1.
In the opener Friday, the Sox were able to hang with the Twinkies’ offense through six innings. It wouldn’t last, though. Torii Hunter got his first homer since July in the sixth to give Minnesota a 4-3 lead. In the next inning, Brian Anderson got his first error of his Major League career, and he made sure it was a memorable one. With two runners on base, Anderson sprinted in to field a Justin Morneau fly ball, which landed in front of him and bounced over his head.
The play gave the Twins a 6-3 lead—comfortable, but not insurmountable. However, Minnesota’s bullpen had completely taken over the game by that point. Pat Neshek, Dennys Reyes, Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier allowed no runs and only one hit from Sox batters over the 3 2/3 innings they pitched. The Twins added a run in the eighth to win 7-3.
Game 2 was romp for the Sox, bolstered by Jon Garland’s performance on the mound, in which he kept 14 straight batters from reaching base at one point. The Twins only managed five hits and one unearned run in Garland’s 7 2/3 innings. The Sox ace boosted his rep as a road warrior in the 4-1 victory: Garland has won 10 games outside of U.S. Cellular Field this season.
Twins pitcher Johan Santana dominated game 3. He limited Sox hitters to a single run in seven innings, and retired the last nine batters he faced. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s solid small-ball offense—Sox manager Ozzie Guillen calls them the “little piranhas”—swarmed the Sox to give the home team another 7-3 victory.
Accordingly, the Sox are very happy to be going to Comerica Park to play the league-leading Detroit Tigers, a team they’ve owned this year.
“We’re feeling good about our road trip to Detroit this week,” Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. “We’re just glad we don’t have to go up against a team that works us over like the Rangers or Royals.”
Number of the Weekend: 8
Minutes it takes non-baseball fans in Minnesota to realize boring radio man Herb Carneal’s broadcast of the game, isn’t Garrison Keillor “A Prairie Home Companion.”