The Cal Connection helped the White Sox avoid 100 losses.
Marcus Semien had three hits and Erik Johnson won his third straight start as the White Sox topped the Kansas City Royals 6-5 on Saturday night only hours after hitting coach Jeff Manto was fired.
Semien, who played with Johnson on the University of California’s 2011 College World Series team, had the first of four White Sox home runs as part of a 3-for-4 effort.
The victory removed the possibility of only the fourth 100-loss campaign in the 113-season history of the franchise.
“People might make a big deal about 100 but it’s not going to make me feel any better going into the offseason knowing the work that’s got to go into next year,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Semien also doubled and singled in support of Johnson, who allowed three runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings. Johnson got little help from his defense as he lost his first two starts but rebounded to win his last three. He finished the season with a 3.25 ERA and a 3-2 record.
“I looked at it as a learning process,” Johnson said. “As much as I could learn from (Don Cooper), Robin, anyone in this clubhouse. Going out there on the mound and competing I was learning a lot too. I thought overall it was a good experience and a great opportunity for me.”
Jordan Danks and Adam Dunn had solo home runs and Conor Gillaspie blasted a two-run shot in the seventh inning for the White Sox.
Addison Reed pitched a scoreless ninth inning to record his 40th save in 48 tries.
Semien said he was proud of his college teammate’s effort. He also was stunned to learn after the game that Manto had been fired after two seasons as the team’s hitting coach.
Prior to taking over in Chicago, Manto had been the team’s minor league hitting coordinator and worked with Semien, who was drafted in June 2011.
“I’ve learned a lot from him, even when I was in the minor leagues,” Semien said. “He taught me a lot about what to look for, what to do in certain situations. He helped me become a smarter player. … That’s pretty bad news.”