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After getting their clocks cleaned at Target Field the first time they met, the White Sox proved tonight that they can beat the Twins.
Hell, they can even do it with Ross Detwiler against Jose Berríos. He survived a Miguel Sanó homer early, and his bid for his first win since 2016 survived a Miguel Sanó homer late. The White Sox ended a seven-game losing streak to Minnesota in the process.
All of this was possible because Berríos was a little more hittable than usual. Perhaps the blister he suffered the start before took some of the bite off his stuff, but the White Sox were able to put him in play, and occasionally with oomph. They never trailed because Leury García reached on an error and James McCann smoked Berríos out of the park to center for a 2-0 first-inning lead.
They regained the lead for good in the fifth thanks to the White Sox’ lions’ den of line-driving lefties. Charlie Tilson led off with a single, Leury Garcia slashed one to left two batters later, followed by Jon Jay hooking a changeup into right field for a 3-2 lead. Up came Jose Abreu, who found the hole through the left side for fourth run.
The Twins, coming off an 18-inning game Thursday, tried to get a complete game out of Berríos, but Eloy Jiménez dashed those plans by hammering a high fastball into the batter’s eye for a two-run shot and a 6-2 lead.
The White Sox used those insurance runs because Kelvin Herrera is entering his third month of looking off, but let’s talk about Rick Renteria’s bullpen management first.
Renteria had a good night, and a telling one. He quit while he was ahead with Detwiler, going to the bullpen after five innings and 73 pitches because Detwiler was working on short rest. Evan Marshall made easy work of the sixth to get a quarter of the way home.
The rest of the game posed challenges. Jace Fry started the seventh with a strikeout, but he walked his second and final batter. In came Juan Minaya, who walked the only batter he faced. Renteria then went to Aaron Bummer, who walked the first batter he faced. With the bases loaded via three walks by three different pitchers, Renteria stuck with Bummer, and Bummer rewarded the first show of confidence with a 5-4-3 double play. Credit Jose Rondón with a slick stab to start it, along with a fine scoop by Abreu.
Bummer then came out for the eighth inning, and his command wasn’t much sharper. He gave up a leadoff single, followed by a bounceout to third and a squeezy walk to put two on with one out. The right-handed Jonathan Schoop came to the plate, so it would’ve normally been the situation for a reliever like Kelvin Herrera, who was plenty warm.
Renteria looked like he thought about visiting the mound, but instead stayed put and let Bummer navigate the bottom of the order. It worked. Bummer got Schoop to line out, then froze the left-handed Jason Castro with a cutter on the inside corner with his season-high 30th pitch of the game to end the inning.
When Jiménez pushed the game out of save situation territory, Renteria then went to Herrera with a clean inning. Herrera lasted two batters, giving up a smoked single and an opposite-field blast to Sanó, which erased the extra cushion. In came Colomé like Jiménez’s blast never happened, and he retired the side in order to start a new save streak. If Renteria had doubts about Herrera before he saw tonight’s work, I wonder what he thinks of his former setup man now.
At any rate, the non-Herrera relievers allowed Detwiler’s night to hold up. He scattered six hits over five innings, and he erased the only free base he gave up by picking off LaMonte Wade after plunking him. He had good control of his breaking ball and his left-handed delivery kept runners in place, so he earned a second start. Odrisamer Despaigne threw a quality start in his White Sox debut, so the second outing is going to be more telling. For at least one night, Detwiler served a purpose.
*Yolmer Sánchez had a tremendous night defensively, starting a 4-6-3 double play with a glove flip, making a sliding stab to his left, turning that 5-4-3 double play that saved Bummer’s bum, and also flagged down a pop-up in behind first base. Not bad for a guy who’s still battling the aftermaths of a virus.
*Daniel Palka went 0-for-4 with three groundouts and a strikeout in his return to the lineup.