The way the season has gone for the White Sox, nobody would have been surprised had the ninth-inning drive by Oswaldo Arcia ended up in the left-field bleachers at U.S. Cellular Field.
But on this day at least, the Sox’s fortune proved better than it has for most of 2013.
Instead of a game-tying home run by Arcia, Alejandro De Azo made a nice running catch near the wall to preserve the White Sox 5-4 victory over the Twins on Saturday.
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“I thought about crying,” Chicago second baseman Gordon Beckham said about watching the ball flying toward the fence. “If that ball had gone over, I would have.”
Fortunately for the White Sox, there were no tears needed.
After blowing an early three-run lead, Chicago rallied for the victory, snapping its five-game losing streak to the Twins, and a 12-game losing streak against AL Central opponents.
“We have a lot of close games that can go either way and we've had a lot of those with the Central that we've lost late,” said manager Robin Ventura, whose team improved to 3-11 against the Twins. “So, yeah, I guess it's been a rough go.”
Right-hander Andre Rienzo failed again to pick up his first major-league decision in his first start in Chicago, and third overall since debuting July 30. He allowed four runs on seven hits with five walks and five strikeouts. He gave up two home runs and it one batter.
Rienzo threw 112 pitches before being replaced by David Purcey (1-1), who closed the door on a Twins rally in the sixth for his first win since June 13, 2011, when he played for the Detroit Tigers.
“I battle as hard as I can but unfortunately my control today wasn’t that good,” Rienzo said. “But I’m glad the team won. It’s important the team wins and I’m glad that happened.”
Addison Reed threw a perfect ninth against the heart of the Twins lineup to earn his 28th save. The bullpen combined to allow only one hit with one walk in 3⅔ innings to secure the victory.
The Sox struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning. But they failed to get an even better early jump on the Twins and starter Mike Pelfrey, who also struggled with control.
Beckham scored on a bases-loaded Paul Konerko sacrifice after drawing a leadoff walk. Beckham, who drew four walks in the game, reached third on a one-out double by Alexei Ramirez before Pelfrey walked Adam Dunn.
Pelfrey escaped his own jam by striking out Avisail Garcia. He threw 33 of his 98 pitches in that inning.
The Sox didn’t have to work as hard for their next run. Jordan Danks led off the second with his second home run of the season, a 414-foot blast into right field.
Their lead went to 3-0 later in the inning, thanks to a costly error by Chris Colabello in right field. With two outs and Beckham on first, Gillaspie drove the ball to Colabello, who appeared to be in good position to make the catch but simply didn’t.
Beckham never stopped running and easily scored on the two-base error.
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But the Twins answered in the third when Justin Morneau clubbed a three-run home run to tie it. One out later, Arcia gave the Twins a 4-3 lead with his third home run in as many games.
Neither side had a clean inning until the fifth when Pelfrey retired the Sox in order. The perfection was short-lived as the White Sox rallied for the lead in the sixth.
Garcia led off with his first hit as a White Sox player, a single up the middle. Jordan Danks then drew a walk to chase Pelfrey. A sacrifice bunt by Josh Phegley advanced both runners, and a sacrifice fly to center by Blake Tekotte scored Garcia with the tying run.
Danks, who went to third on the Tekotte sacrifice, scored on a single by Conor Gillaspie to make it 5-4.
Garcia had a chance to make a stronger impression with Sox fans in the seventh, but struck out looking with runners on first and third and nobody out. Danks then popped out to right and De Aza struck out as a pinch hitter.
“I was a little tired yesterday but I feel great today,” said Garcia, who went 1-for-4 in his first start with the Sox. “Bad day, I got a base hit, but just got to keep playing and see what happens.”
Pelfrey (4-10) finished with a line similar to Rienzo’s. He allowed five runs -- four earned -- on four hits with five walks and two strikeouts in the 98-pitch effort.