White Sox sweep Twins, take two-game lead into Tigers makeup
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com September 16, 2012 9:40PM
White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy (11-11) went six innings and gave up two runs and four hits. He struck out six and walked one. | Jim Mone~AP
Updated: October 18, 2012 6:20AM
MINNEAPOLIS — When the White Sox said their rainy-night goodbyes to the Detroit Tigers four days ago, they knew it could take a sweep in Minnesota to hold their one-game lead on them.
Say what you want about the caliber of their last-place opponent, the first-place Sox did what they had to do against the Twins by sweeping them over the weekend. They completed the job with a 9-2 victory Sunday afternoon behind six strong innings from right-hander Jake Peavy and home runs from Adam Dunn and Dayan Viciedo.
About the time the Sox were boarding a plane for Chicago to play the second-place Tigers on Monday afternoon to make up their rained-out Thursday game, they got word that the Tigers had lost in the ninth inning in Cleveland. The Sox will play Detroit with a two-game lead.
“We have a big one [Monday], and I hope the fans come out to the Cell,’’ Peavy said, anticipating the magnitude of this last head-to-head matchup with the Tigers and knowing a Monday matinee in September doesn’t lend itself to a big turnout. “Going to be a lot of emotion.’’
Emotion, yes, but Peavy stressed the company line set in place by manager Robin Ventura during spring training to keep each day in perspective. The one-day-at-a-time theme isn’t as alluring as “All in,” but it’s working.
“We all realize what’s ahead of us,’’ Peavy said, “but at the same time, we’re far from tasting anything yet. Us veterans who’ve been down this road understand that. We understand what we’re playing for, but with 18 games left, that’s a long way to go. ... We’re far from getting it done.’’
Taking three from the Twins was a necessary step, and the Sox did it with strong starts from Chris Sale, Francisco Liriano and Peavy. A rotation that one week ago showed signs of running out of gas has posted a 2.29 ERA in its last seven starts.
Peavy struck out six, walked one and gave up four hits.
“We didn’t have to go past the sixth [with Peavy], so that was good,’’ said Ventura, who let Peavy pitch the sixth after the Sox scored six and got him out after 101 pitches. “We scored a lot of runs and [emptied the bench]. That was good, too. It was good all the way around.”
Even the Sox’ homers were well above average. Viciedo lined a Scott Diamond pitch that left the premises in the blink of an eye, and Dunn, playing his second game since missing seven with an oblique strain, hit a tall 415-footer. Dunn started the six-run sixth, and Viciedo kept it going after Alex Rios’ eighth triple.
Dewayne Wise doubled and drove in two runs with two sacrifice flies, Kevin Youkilis hit a 400-foot RBI double off the center-field wall and Dunn added an RBI single to left.
“It feels the same as it did yesterday, and I’m expecting it to be the same tomorrow and so on,’’ Dunn said of the oblique. “It’s not an issue, and it just feels good to play.
“We don’t have an off day [with Monday’s makeup], but the good thing is I feel I’m going to be in there tomorrow. That’s what I wanted. I wanted to play against those guys [the Tigers] and for the rest of the season.”
Besides allowing a home run to Joe Mauer in the first inning and back-to-back doubles by Trevor Plouffe and Alexi Casilla in the fifth, Peavy (11-11) was solid.
“The boys played well,’’ Peavy said. “After a tough series [losing two of three against Detroit] and after getting rained out, we came here knowing we had to play well. We did.’’