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The Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins may be neck-and-neck in the standings, but the games haven’t been anything close.
The Sox rallied from a stomping in the first game by defeating the Twins in equally demoralizing fashion in Wednesday night’s 6-1 undressing.
This time, Ozzie Guillen’s club played crisp baseball while Ron Gardenhire’s squad fumbled around. Alex Rios set the tone by hitting cutoff man Gordon Beckham instead of airmailing the ball between third and home. Carlos Quentin, who tends to throw the ball 15 feet behind second, hit the bag and nearly caught Delmon Young straying too far, serving as another warning shot.
John Danks pitched around a botched double play by Beckham. Glen Perkins could not do the same around a team error by Orlando Hudson and Michael Cuddyer. The Sox even benefited from the vagaries of umpiring that Hawk Harrelson bitched about in the opener.
It’s quite the palate cleanser for the Sox, and while it might only nullify the effects of Game 1 in the standings, the Twins have a little extra to deal with:
3 Twins players Ron Gardenhire cited as being hurt after the game: shortstop J.J. Hardy and relievers Jon Rauch and Jose Mijares, who had to leave the game after injuring himself trying to cover first base.
Gavin Floyd and Francisco Liriano square off in Game 3. If that game isn’t close, then we may as well just count on trading ass-kickings over the last six games.
White Sox pitchers found themselves on the wrong side of warnings once again when Mike Dimuro served notice to both benches after Carlos Quentin’s second plunking.
If you’re keeping track, Sox hitters have taken 55 pitches to their persons, which is more than twice the amount of HBPs issued by Sox pitchers (24).
Ozzie Guillen thought Perkins plunked with purpose:
“It looked like he did it (intentionally),” Guillen said. “If not, the umpire won’t do any warning. Easy scenario. First base open, this kid hit a home run. Do I say he did it on purpose? It’s up to him about it.
“It seemed like it was. Everything was there. He not pitching well. I’m not 100 percent he did it. I know 100 percent it don’t come from the bench. I was very upset because they kick our (rears) Tuesday big time and we don’t come close to pitch in.”
I wouldn’t be as certain. Quentin gets hit all the time, and Hawk Harrelson could tell Guillen that umpires issue warnings under far flimsier circumstances. Either way, it’s nice to see some fire from the manager after he went out of his way to flatter his chief rival.
The warning made John Danks’ outing even more impressive. Despite Dimuro threatening the corner Danks needs to succeed, he still went inside with aplomb, jamming Joe Mauer in his last two at-bats. Danks may hate pitching against the Twins, but he made them hate hitting his cutter on Wednesday, and didn’t let a potential ejection scare him any.
Beating Perkins gives me a chance to embed my favorite Kids in the Hall sketch:
Dayan Viciedo is making a strong case to be demoted when Kenny Williams thinks Mark Teahen has whipped his versatility into shape.
He made five outs during an 0-for-4 night, and only saw nine pitches despite striking out twice. In fact, all of those pitches were strikes. All of that is pretty hard to do, when you think about it.
He’s in a 1-for-15 skid with nine strikeouts now, and showing the same spinning-into-the-ground tendencies he did in spring training, when he’s trying to do way too much.
The good news is that this was to be expected. He handled the initial challenge well, but when Teahen is ready to go, there’s no reason to keep him around aside from the occasional outburst of right-handed thunder. Andruw Jones serves the same purpose, and he can still play the outfield.
Still, Viciedo’s first stint could have gone much worse, and maybe after seeing what major-league pitchers throw, maybe it will lead to more walks at Charlotte. Or maybe he’ll keep hacking away happily. I’d bet on the latter, but he’s given reason to be optimistic about his prospects.
And at this time in the year, it’ll only be a few weeks until he’s back on the big-league club, anyway.
Minor league roundup:
- Durham 10, Charlotte 9 (11 innings)
- Mark Teahen (3B) went 3-for-4 with a double, walk and RBI.
- Brent Morel doubled twice and struck out three times.
- Tyler Flowers went 2-for-5 with a double, RBI and two strikeouts.
- Jordan Danks singled, doubled, walked and didn’t strike out over six PAs. He also stole his 15th base.
- Clevelan Santeliz pitched three scoreless innings, striking out three while allowing just a hit and a walk.
- Birmingham 3, Mississippi 2
- Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
- Christian Marrero singled, walked and struck out twice.
- Justin Greene was 0-for-3.
- Winston-Salem 4, Wilmington 2
- Jon Gilmore went 2-for-5 with a strikeout.
- Another walk for Brandon Short during a 1-for-4 day. He also struck out once.
- Josh Phegley went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
- Stephen Sauer was good: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K.
- Danville 9, Bristol 5
- Daniel Black went 1-for-3 with a walk.
- Great Falls 6, Billings 5
- Andy Wilkins went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.
- Michael Blanke did the same, also striking out once.
- Ross Wilson was 2-for-5.
- Addison Reed struck out three over three scoreless innings, allowing just a hit. It was just hit second hit allowed over his last nine innings, and has struck out 15 batters with zero walks.