White Sox head home on high note after 4-2 road trip
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Sun-Times Media August 1, 2012 11:30PM
Closer Addison Reed seals the victory Wednesday against the Twins. | Genevieve Ross~AP
Updated: September 3, 2012 1:29PM
MINNEAPOLIS — Nothing comes easy for the White Sox in Minnesota, even when the Twins are 16 games below .500.
On Wednesday afternoon at Target Field, the Twins made the Sox sweat out a 3-2 victory to the very last pitch. This was the rubber game of a three-game series, and it made the difference in going 4-2 instead of 3-3 on their latest of many recent trips.
A win sent the Sox (57-47) home, finally, on a high note after their 16th road game in their last 19 since the All-Star break. They’ll enjoy a day off Thursday with at least a 2½-game lead on the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.
Rookie closer Addison Reed’s face, still flushed in an air-conditioned clubhouse after the game, spoke to the 90-degree temperature and the heat of the moment.
“It will be nice to go back home and play in front of our home fans and be in our own beds,’’ said Reed, who created the ninth-inning tension by allowing a two-out double to Ryan Doumit that fell beneath sliding right fielder Alex Rios’ glove and walking Danny Valencia.
An uncontested double steal by pinch runners Darin Mastroianni and Alexi Casilla heightened the drama before Brian Dozier flied out to center to end the game.
“I try not to let anything get to me,’’ Reed said.
Reed’s 18th save preserved a win for Jake Peavy (9-7), who settled into a groove after allowing a run in each of the first two innings to finish with eight strikeouts while allowing five hits. Peavy’s last pitch resulted in a pop-up by Joe Mauer to shortstop Alexei Ramirez with runners on first and third and two outs in the eighth.
“We decided to stay hard in and try to get him to hit the ball in the air, and fortunately we were able to do that,’’ said Peavy (114 pitches), who was visited by manager Robin Ventura to give him a breather and make sure he was good to go. “You don’t want to face him too much in that situation because he’s going to throw some hits out there.’’
Peavy (3.04 ERA) continues to pitch like the top-of-the-rotation workhorse he was signed to be before he got hurt, but he stopped short of saying he’s satisfied with his performance. Not on Aug. 1.
“Not yet,’’ he said. “I feel excited to be able to help to this point, but we want to win. It will be a satisfying season in this clubhouse for everybody, no matter what the numbers are at the end, if we find a way to win this Central and get in the playoffs.’’
Alejandro De Aza had three hits, including a single off Twins starter Scott Diamond’s leg that drove in Tyler Flowers with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
De Aza, who had seven hits in the series, despite a hitless middle game, singled and scored the first run in the first. He stole his 20th base, advanced to third on Kevin Youkilis’ slow chopper to third and scored on Adam Dunn’s sacrifice fly.
The Twins scored on Mauer’s RBI ground out to Dunn at first base in the first and on Valencia’s homer in the second. The Sox tied it at 2 when Flowers beat out a double play with Rios (2-for-4) on third in the fifth.
The Sox open a nine-game homestand Friday against the Angels. The Royals and A’s follow. They’re 10-9 since the All-Star break, not bad considering 16 games were away.
“That’s a tough stretch,’’ Ventura said. “You come back off the All-Star break and most of them are on the road. It’s not easy. You go out on the road and tough teams, and you kind of held your own. Now it’s time to go home and win some games.’’