During a mound visit in the seventh inning of a tie game, Jake Peavy appeared to talk White Sox manager Robin Ventura out of removing him before Twins’ cleanup hitter Justin Morneau was due up.
Peavy had already thrown 112 pitches, but Ventura stuck with him. Peavy came through, getting Morneau to fly to center to end the inning.
The Sox offense, however, made no such stand Saturday, scoring just once on Alejandro De Aza’s leadoff home run in a 2-1, 10-inning loss to Minnesota in front of 22,417 at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Twins scored in the 10th when a low throw by shortstop Alexei Ramirez bounced away from first baseman Jeff Keppinger, allowing Ryan Doumit to come around from second.
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Doumit led off the inning with a double off reliever Hector Santiago, the Sox sixth reliever of the game. After a failed bunt attempt by Aaron Hicks, Eduardo Escobar hit a slow grounder to short that Ramirez charged and fielded. But his throw to first bounced in front of Keppinger, whose backhanded scoop attempt was unsuccessful. The ball hit Escobar and bounced up the first-base line, allowing Doumit to score from second.
Escobar was given a hit, but Ramirez was charged with an error on the throw. Keppinger had moved to first at the start of the inning for Paul Konerko, who was removed for a pinch runner after singling in the ninth.
"At that time of the day, where the shadow is and the brightness from the stands in the back, it's really not that easy of a ball to read,” Keppinger said. “When it's coming in the dirt, it's hard to tell how far in front of you it is, if it's going to be an easy pick or an in-between hop or a long hop. At that moment in time, that's what I felt was the right thing to do, and I tried to pick it."
Tyler Flowers walked with one out in the Sox half of the 10th but didn’t move past first, a reflection of a game that lacked scoring chances. Starters Vance Worley and Jake Peavy each went seven innings and gave up one run. Peavy tallied nine strikeouts.
"You hate wasting outings like that,” Ventura said. “I think any time a guy pitches like that, it's one of those unfortunate things, you don't get him a win. He's been pitching well enough to get a couple wins out of it, and today was the same. He always gives you that opportunity it seems like."
The Twins scored their first run in the third when Josh Willingham singled in Brian Dozier.
Peavy and Worley took advantage of home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor’s expanded strike zone, combining for 16 strikeouts, eight of which were looking.
"It was a good day to pitch,” Konerko said. “Leave it at that. (Worley) did what he should've done. He was attacking the strike zone. We had never faced him, and I know he's got a real heavy sinker, but he actually stayed away on everybody. He didn't come in too much, so that was a little bit of a different look than I thought we were going to see."
Peavy handcuffed the Twins with a two-seam fastball that cut significantly from left to right, a la Greg Maddux, but he wished he had done more.
"I could've not given up that one there in the third and it would of saved us a game,” Peavy said. “A hard-fought game. With the conditions, it's cold. You get colder as the game went on, (it's) hard to stay loose. And I didn't have very good stuff today. The ball was moving, but the command was just not what you'd expect it to be and want it to be."
The veteran was glad he was the one pitching on a day when the Sox scored just once on six hits.
"I'd rather it be me than it be a Quintana or a Sale or somebody that just hasn't been through it,” he said. “I'd rather take it on my shoulders than some young guys who can really get down and discouraged about it."
Dunn’s struggles continue
Adam Dunn, who came into the game hitting .105, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, rolling over on the only ball he put in play, a weak grounder to second.
"Adam's not one to really press much,” Konerko said. “He's handled it well. He's been through this stuff before. A guy like him, two games he can get it all back."
Ventura also expects the powerful lefty to turn things around.
"I think (he’s) frustrated,” Ventura said. “Anybody would be. You've just got to keep grinding through it. He'll eventually get through it."
Jeff Keppinger is also struggling, hitting .159. He had a line-drive to the outfield Saturday, but the runner on first, Tyler Flowers, was thrown out at second because he had to wait to see if the ball would drop.
"I feel fine,” Keppinger said. “There's obviously something wrong with my swing. I'm finding the barrel with the ball, but I'm either popping it up or rolling them over. I'm not hitting line drives or hard ground balls like normally. I think I'm dipping my back shoulder a little bit, and my hands are dropping instead of staying on top of the ball."