Instant Rationalization - Ex-Twins combine forces to burn their old club, lift White Sox to win

Instant Rationalization  - Ex-Twins combine forces to burn their old club, lift White Sox to win
It must feel nice to be on a winner. (Renee Jones Schneider/MCT photo / July 31, 2012)

Francisco Liriano and Jesse Crain hadn’t appeared in the same game for the same team since the 2010 ALDS for Minnesota, but those two combined for seven innings of two-run ball to help the White Sox beat the Twins 4-3.

The game was tied at two in the ninth inning, when yet another ex-Twin, A.J. Pierzynski, hit a game-winning two-run home run to right field off of ex-White Sox Jeff Gray.

Liriano had a very solid debut for the White Sox, giving up two earned runs over six innings.  He wasn’t very efficient, needing 113 pitches to get through the six innings, but came through in tough situations, tallying eight strikeouts.

Nick Blackburn, who game into the game with a 7.99 ERA, pitched extremely well, just allowing two runs on five hits in eight innings.

Key Performers

A.J. Pierzynski – 2-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – Pierzynski’s go-ahead two-run bomb to right in the ninth inning proved to be the game-winner.

Francisco Liriano – 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K – Liriano battled through a lot of self-induced jams, helped often by his ability to strikeout Twins hitters.

Denard Span – 4-5, 1 RBI – The White Sox killer did his part for the Twins after almost getting traded to the Cincinnati Reds earlier in the day.

Turning Point

Pierzynski’s ninth inning blast broke a two-all tie and gave closer Addison Reed enough of a cushion to hang on for a one run victory. A.J. has a knack for rising to the occasion, and game against the Twins are just that for Pierzynski.

Reed gave up a RBI single to Denard Span (who else?) that closed the Sox lead to one run, but Reed recorded the final two outs to seal the victory for Chicago.

Things Would Be Different If…

…the umpires had seen Paul Konerko’s errant throw sail into the dugout trying to throw out Darin Mastroianni at home in the sixth inning.  If the umpires had called it an overthrow, all three Twins runners would have moved up, allowing them to take a 2-1 lead with two runners in scoring position.

As it turned out, Danny Valencia followed with an RBI infield single, but instead of knocking in the go-ahead run, it would have given the Twins a two-run lead.  The one run differential was the final difference in the game.

Takeaway

Francisco Liriano came through in his Sox debut, and will have to keep up these kind of results after the Sox announced that John Danks will miss the remainder of the season.  The trade for Liriano now carries a greater significance, because it affords the Sox to give extended periods of rest for young pitchers like Chris Sale and Jose Quintana so that both pitchers can be fresh for the stretch run.

After being baffled by Blackburn for eight innings, the White Sox showed lots of fight by battling back against the Twins bullpen.  Coming into tonight’s game, the White Sox were just 3-40 when trailing entering the eighth inning, so it came as a breath of fresh air to comeback against a team that has historically given them fits.

Overall Record: 56-47, 2.5 games up on Detroit

Filed under: Game Wraps

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