MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Chicago White Sox once again flexed their late-game muscle. It was, however, too little, too late.
With the bases loaded and the game tied, the Minnesota Twins turned a superb double play off a tough ground ball from Conor Gillaspie to end the top of the ninth.
Brian Dozier’s RBI-single with two outs in the bottom of the inning lifted the Twins to a 5-4 victory over the White Sox on Friday night.
“It was nice to have the ninth inning, fight our way back in,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “But we put a couple guys on, makes it extra tough to be able to hold on.”
Daniel Webb (4-1) walked Eduardo Escobar and Sam Fuld with one out in the ninth and Escobar beat the throw home with a beautiful slide to win it. The play was confirmed upon review.
The Twins led 4-2 in the ninth, but Paul Konerko delivered a pinch-hit, RBI-single and Adam Eaton tied the game with a double down the left field line to tie it.
The White Sox boast a league-leading 46 runs scored in the ninth inning, but lost for the second straight game in Minnesota. Chicago is 18-10 all-time at Target Field, which opened in 2010.
“Great to see us battle back, but I’d like to do that in the fifth and sixth,” Eaton said. “We can’t keep waiting until that long. I know it’s baseball, but we need to put more pressure on people earlier.”
The Twins’ bats saved closer Glen Perkins (3-0), who gave up two runs in the top of the ninth to blow his third save in 21 chances. Dozier, who is in consideration for the All-Star game thanks to his 15 home runs and stellar defense at second base, was mobbed by his teammates after the big hit and cheered loudly as he exited the field.
Escobar barely slid past White Sox catcher Adrian Nieto at home plate for the game-winning run, so much so that Nieto thought he had the out to send the game into extra innings.
“Can’t see his hands, but it’s what I felt,” Nieto said. “I thought there was no way he made the plate, because I felt his hand on my cleat. The replay showed he reached back with his right hand. So, he did a great job.”
Hector Noesi gave up four runs, six hits and struck out four in seven innings for the White Sox, who lost for the sixth time in the last eight games.
Noesi had a 2-0 lead after the first inning, which saw Gordon Beckham and Jose Abreu homer off Ricky Nolasco in two of the first four at-bats. But Escobar nailed a two-run double with one out in the second inning to knot it up before Fuld’s sacrifice fly scored Oswaldo Arcia for the Twins’ 3-2 lead.
Beckham and Abreu hit 825 feet worth of home runs off him in the first inning for a 2-0 lead. Beckham’s was a screamer into the second deck in left field while Abreu’s landed in the bullpen in left-center for his 21st of the season, drawing boos from an impatient home crowd.
Nolasco settled down after that, not allowing a runner past first base over the next four innings. He allowed six hits in 5 1-3 innings to help the Twins win their second straight after a five-game losing streak.