Catcher Tyler Flowers thinks Hector Noesi could be dangerous if he continues to pitch with confidence.
Tuesday’s night performance could only bolster Noesi’s belief.
The White Sox pitcher used his offspeed pitches to get in and out of jams and did something he hadn’t done in nearly 25 months: win.
Jose Abreu homered in his second straight game since returning and the White Sox reached .500 yet again as Noesi delivered six solid innings in a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of 44,477 at Dodger Stadium. Winning for the first time since May 6, 2012, Noesi snapped the second-longest losing streak in the majors at 14 games.
[WATCH: White Sox happy for Noesi]
“He seems like he’s much more consistent now,” Flowers said of Noesi, who was waived by the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers in April before the White Sox claimed him. “He’s really starting to trust the offspeed, that he can throw it in different situations, throw it for strikes, throw it for balls, get guys to chase it. With his arsenal he could be dangerous if he continues to be confident and execute.”
While Tuesday’s stat line wasn’t overly impressive, Noesi -- who limited the Dodgers to a run despite allowing five hits and walking four -- looked as if he was auditioning for a role in the planned “Dodgeball” sequel. He ducked, dodged, dived and dipped throughout a performance in which he often found himself in a sticky situation.
But even though he allowed at least two men to reach in three innings, Noesi navigated a loaded Los Angeles lineup for his first win in 41 appearances.
“Pretty exciting,” Noesi said. “I break the record. I feel so happy that I got this win.
“I was not thinking about the win. I was just trying to control myself and get back on the track.”
Starting with a first-inning strikeout of Adrian Gonzalez with two aboard, Noesi found made a series of big pitches. He loaded the bases with a one-out walk of opposing pitcher Dan Haren in the second but only allowed a run.
After he retired seven straight, Noesi gave up back-to-back singles in the fourth inning. But he got out of runners on the corners and one out with a liner to second base and a strikeout of Dee Gordon.
Noesi pitched through more stress in the fifth and sixth innings but escaped unharmed. He struck out six as he completed at least six innings for the fifth start in a row. In seven starts with the White Sox, Noesi has a 4.02 ERA.
“You see in the progression of him since we got him, for him to go through a lineup like that is impressive,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “So you're happy for him. You're glad we won, but you're happy for him everything he's been through this year, being on a bunch of teams and pitching like he did tonight was icing on the cake. He's not done, but you're happy for him.”
The stress didn’t end after Noesi exited.
Jacob Petricka walked two batters with two outs in the seventh inning and Zach Putnam got Gonzalez to fly out to center. An inning later, Putnam allowed a singled and walked a batter with two outs but got Gordon to fly out to center to strand two more runners.
Ronald Belisario pitched a perfect ninth to close out the victory.
The Dodgers went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12.
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The White Sox offense had more success against Haren (5-4).
Abreu continued his one-man assault with a first-inning homer to give Noesi a 2-0 lead. Though he missed 15 days and only had a couple of live batting practice sessions against White Sox farmhands, Abreu has homered in each of his first two games back. He added an RBI fielder’s choice in the third to make it 3-1 and Flowers supported his starter with a solo homer in the fourth to put the White Sox ahead by three runs.
Abreu, who hugged Noesi in the dugout after his homer, said he’s surprised to learn the pitcher hadn’t won in so long.
“The great starts he’s had here, the great pitching performances he’s has so far here, it is surprising,” Abreu said. “He’s a great pitcher, he’s a great guy, and he just needs to keep working hard like the rest of us to contribute to this team.”