Grabbing wins, reducing the magic number, and moving on to the next one is all that matters from here on out. So maybe just saying that the Sox won, and Detroit lost should be enough.
But ESPN had that information hours ago, so let's indulge.
The hope was that Hector Santiago could deliver the game to the 6th inning intact - he did that.
The hope was that Twins starter Samuel Deduno would bring the erratic aim that had marred about half of his starts - he did that.
There was also a need for breakout, situational hitting from someone - Gordon Beckham provided that, and generally what's good for the Gordon is good for the gander.
All the ingredients for an easy victory over the Twins were present, but it wound up being a bit of a struggle, although a satisfying one.
Hector Santiago displayed the benefits of a well-located above-average fastball from the left side and all that it can set up over five innings. He struck out six, allowed only a solo home run to Jamey Carroll that wrapped around the left field foul pole, before losing momentum and walking the first two batters of the 6th.
The jam Hector left behind was undone by Joe Mauer being tagged out (allegedly) on the back end of a double steal, and Ventura playing platoon matchups with Nate Jones and Donnie Veal.
But even with all those zeroes thrown up, the White Sox couldn't create much breathing room against the Twins pitching staff. Samuel Deduno provided four extra baserunners through wildness, let a runner reach 3rd base in three separate innings, but the two-run homer Gordon Beckham ripped into the left field bleachers in the 2nd was the only mark against him through six innings.
While the Sox were unable to break things open, they were more than willing to purchase insurance for their threadbare lead. Kevin Youkilis lined a shot down the 3rd base line in the 7th, barreled into 2nd base hideously, and scampered home on a Paul Konerko single. And after Mauer and Morneau pulled the same trick in the next inning, back-to-back two-out singles from Alexei Ramirez and Beckham with an uncontested stolen base in between provided a two-run advantage.
Addison Reed worked around his typical allotted baserunner for the save.
White Sox 4, Twins 2
Hector Santiago - 5 IP, 3 H, ER, 3 BB, 6 K, HR, 91 pitches - Absolutely as good as could have been hoped for.
Gordon Beckham - 2 for 4, HR, 3 RBI - He also almost walked!...He also hit into an inning-ending double play. Can you believe he's one off his career-high for home runs in a season? Can you believe his career-high came in a season where he only played 103 games?
Kevin Youkilis - 2 for 3, 2B, BB - His only out was his hardest hit ball to the right-center field wall, and the effort seemed more impressive given how often he looked near death.
Paul Konerko - 1 for 3, RBI, BB - He was one 7th inning single away from an awful night where he stranded three runners in scoring position. Good thing he avoided that!
The Twins had the tying run at the plate to lead off the 9th, with Addison Reed going through his typical labors. After catching Jamey Carroll looking on the inside corner on the 8th pitch of the at-bat, Reed got into another long war with light-hitting Alexei Casilla. Reed floated a high, pretty flat off-speed pitch that Casilla chopped back to the mound. Addison fielded the bouncer as smoothly as he was rough on the mound, pivoted and threw to Alexei Ramirez, kickstarting a game-ending double play.
Things Would Be Different If...
...Not for Twins defense. It wasn't blatant, and they nearly got away with it. Joe Mauer ignored Alejandro De Aza scooting around to 3rd base in the 2nd inning, Trevor Plouffe was showing fall-down range to his right on three separate doubles, but they didn't get truly burnt for until the 7th inning. Youkilis ripped another grounder down the line past Plouffe in that frame and later scored, and Alexei Ramirez stole 2nd uncontested in the 8th inning, and scored on a served single by Gordon Beckham.
It certainly could have gone worse the Twins, since they started Chris Parmalee in right field.
Apparently the White Sox can only win behind spot starters scraping together their best efforts. Denard Span is gone to the DL, but conquering the Twins offense is still not the cakewalk their win-loss record might indicate. Santiago's viability against lefty-heavy lineups shall be duly noted with games against Cleveland coming down the pipe.
While success with runners in scoring position is still fleeting, the game ended with just enough productivity to wipe away some bad feelings.
Team Record: 73-61, 1 game up