White Sox offense stays hot in victory over Twins

White Sox offense stays hot in victory over Twins
August 2, 2014, 12:15 am
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There’s a lot of confidence in the White Sox clubhouse these days.

Shouldn’t come as a surprise given the way they’re hitting.

While Jose Abreu continues to scorch opposing pitchers the rest of his teammates have joined in the fun. Production throughout the lineup helped the White Sox overcome an uncharacteristically rough night by Chris Sale on Friday as they rallied twice for a 10-8 victory over the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.

Abreu -- who extended his hitting streak to 21 games and has reached base in 10 straight plate appearances -- got on five times and set up a go-ahead rally in the eighth inning with his third single. Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Flowers and Alejandro De Aza then singled in runs as the White Sox won for the sixth time in eight tries.

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“We have a lot of good hitters,” said Konerko, whose one-out single in the eighth off Casey Fien tied the score at 7. “When we are playing well, it’s not just one guy carrying the load. We have a lot of good at-bats. (Moises Sierra) had a great night defensively and offensively. When you start getting contributions from the bottom of the lineup, you should win that game.”

The offense has been on a roll the past eight games, hence the 6-2 mark.

They produced 44 runs while winning five of seven on the road and stayed hot in their return to the South Side.

Trailing 7-6, Adam Eaton, who singled twice and walked, led off the eighth inning with a single off Fien and moved to third on Abreu’s single to center ahead of Konerko’s game-tying single to left.

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Konerko had two of the White Sox 17 hits.

Ramirez then dumped a single to right field to put the White Sox ahead 8-7. Flowers, who tied the game with a solo homer in the fifth inning, singled in another to give his team a two-run lead and De Aza singled in the fourth run of the inning. The White Sox had six hits, all singles, in the decisive eighth. The team is hitting .349 and averaging 6.75 runs over the past eight games.

“Even if you get down they’re still feeling like they have a shot and I think as soon as a guy gets on they feel like stuff’s going to happen,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That’s the good stuff. You’re seeing guys grinding out at-bats and knock in runs. It becomes a bit contagious and guys that have scuffled for a while, this is fun to actually be able to do it. When you get beat down and all of a sudden it turns around you feel good about going up there and contributing.”

Those good feelings started early as Sierra tripled in a run in the second inning and Eaton’s RBI bunt single made it a 2-0 lead.

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After Sale uncharacteristically yielded a five-spot in the third inning, the White Sox went back to work.

Conor Gillaspie doubled in a run in the third, Abreu’s single in the fourth cut the Twins’ lead to 5-4 and Flowers homered in the fifth to tie it. After he walked and was hit by a pitch, Abreu’s single off Logan Darnell extended his hitting streak to 21.

He has hits in 39 of his last 40 games.

Sale had been nearly as hot in July but was off on Friday.

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Though he pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, Sale wasn’t as lucky in the third. He surrendered five straight hits and all five came around to score as Minnesota grabbed a 5-2 lead.

Only four of the runs were earned but that was more than Sale had allowed in 31 2/3 innings last month (three) when he posted a 0.85 ERA.

Sale recovered after that and retired 11 of the last 13 he faced to get through six innings. He allowed eight hits while striking out seven and left with a lead thanks to a two-out RBI double by Ramirez in the bottom of the sixth.

But the White Sox bullpen gave it right back as Kurt Suzuki tied it with an RBI single off Daniel Webb in the seventh inning and Chris Parmalee homered off Eric Surkamp in the eighth to take a 7-6 lead.

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Jacob Petricka earned his seventh save even though he loaded the bases in the ninth inning. He struck out Kennys Vargas and Oswaldo Arcia with the tying runs on first and third.

“Just how we drew it up,” Sale said. “It was a little bit of everybody. Everybody in the lineup got a hit today, which is awesome. Scoring runs early, scoring runs late and in between. This team never quit fighting especially when I put us in a pretty good hole right there.”

Nobody in a White Sox uniform is looking too far ahead at this point. They’ve been too inconsistent too often. But the White Sox feel confident enough to rule themselves out of anything at this point.

“I don’t have the prescience to tell you where this season is going to take us,” Sale said. “But as long as we come in every day and we work hard and play like we played tonight and string some stuff together, I don’t see why we couldn’t be there with anybody else.”