Putting it on the board: Timo Pérez hit his first homer of the season, and the blast gave the White Sox a lead that would not relinquish. (@CPHSox)
The White Sox’s strong first week of the season continued, as they took down the Twins in Minnesota by a score of 8-5.
The offense raced out of the starting blocks, as they put up two against Twins starter Brad Radke in the top of the first. Granted, the offense needed some help from Twins third baseman Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer allowed Tadahito Iguchi to reach base, as he committed an error, somehow his third in just five games. Carl Everett followed Iguchi with a home run over the tall right field wall to make the score 2-0. Everett’s blast was his first of the season, and it set the tone for what would be a high-scoring effort by the offense.
In the third, the White Sox added an insurance run. With the bases empty and one out, Scott Podsednik started a rally by knocking a single up the middle. Iguchi followed with a double to left that just got over Cuddyer’s outstretched glove to put runners on second and third. In stepped Everett, who was looking to crush a pitch from Radke for the second time of the evening. The first two pitches to Everett caught a sizable chunk of the plate, but Everett fouled them off. Fortunately, even though the third pitch was inside, Everett managed to get enough muscle behind his swing to drive in a run with a sacrifice fly to right.
Meanwhile, things started easy for White Sox starter Jon Garland. Garland’s first four innings were scoreless, but incredibly, he did not strike anyone out those innings. During that time, Garland found some excellent BABIP luck, but it did not last throughout his entire start. In the bottom of the fifth, with the score still 3-0, the Twins started the inning with back-to-back singles, the second of which was very softly hit. Two batters later, with runners at the corners and one out, left fielder Shannon Stewart smashed a homer to left to tie it at three.
The sixth inning was not so easy for Garland, either, though he was able to escape unharmed. Matt LeCroy and Torii Hunter led off with back-to-back hits, and Hunter’s drive barely stayed in the park. After an infield single by Lew Ford, the Twins had the bases juiced with one out. In perhaps the most important at-bat of the day, Garland made a great pitch to Cuddyer. As a result, Garland wiggled out of the jam, as Cuddyer grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. The final line for Garland: six innings, three runs (all earned), 10 hits, no walks, and one strikeout.
In the seventh, the White Sox took control. Timo Pérez led off the inning with a homer, his first of the season. After singles by Aaron Rowand, Joe Crede, and Juan Uribe, the White Sox led by a score of 5-3. After Podsednik reached base on an RBI forceout that made it 6-3, the White Sox benefited from some sloppy fielding. With two outs, Twins pitcher J.C. Romero made an errant throw on a pickoff attempt that allowed Podsednik to advance to third (this guy has serious wheels, and I have a feeling they will come in handy). After a passed ball by catcher Joe Mauer, Podsednik scored to extend the lead to four.
Paul Konerko added another insurance run in the eighth, as he launched a solo home run (his third homer already!) to make it 8-3. The Twins did not lie down, as Hunter hit a solo homer of his own, and an RBI single by Mauer trimmed the deficit to three. However, it was too little, too late, as Shingo Takatsu came in to shut the door without any problems.
With the 8-5 victory, the White Sox improved to 4-1, while the Twins fell to 2-3. Tomorrow (April 10, 2005) will be the final game of this three-game set against Minnesota. Mark Buehrle is set to start for the White Sox, and 2004 AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana is the Twins’ probable starter.
Before I sign off, here are a couple of trivia questions about recent White Sox history:
- The 2004 White Sox hit 242 home runs. How many teams in franchise history have hit more?
- Let’s build off today’s Aflac Trivia Question: Which player led the 2004 White Sox in both stolen bases and games with four or more hits?
- Zero, as of April 9, 2005. (Same answer as of March 27, 2020.)
- Willie Harris, who had 19 stolen bases and four games with four or more hits. (I wonder how many stolen bases Podsednik will get this season. Probably more than 19!)