White Sox keep Twins winless
MINNEAPOLIS -- Chicago White Sox outfielder Austin Jackson hit a two-strike changeup about as hard as you can in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins on Monday.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Jackson smoked Kyle Gibson’s offering down the left-field line, then watched it sail inches wide of the left-field foul pole. Luckily for the White Sox, and Chicago starter Jose Quintana, Jackson lined the next pitch into center field for a two-run single, spurring Chicago to a 4-1 win over Minnesota at Target Field.
Jackson’s near grand slam headed out of the stadium in a hurry on a line drive; the only question was which side of the foul pole it would go past. With a foot of space between the pole and a limestone wall in foul territory, Jackson’s drive somehow managed to find the narrow slot without grazing the pole.
“To the naked eye, when you’re just looking at it, doesn’t look like it could fit in that little sliver that’s down there without hitting the pole,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “But it did.”
Jackson picked Quintana up on the next pitch and the lefty did most of the heavy lifting from there, throwing six innings of one-run ball against the punchless Twins, who dropped to 0-7 for the first time in franchise history.
Minnesota is the only team in the American League and one of only two in baseball (Atlanta is the other) without a win so far this season. Their start is the worst in the majors since the Houston Astros went 0-8 to begin the 2010 campaign.
“I think we’re pressing a little bit. I think that’s pretty obvious,” said Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe. “When we have runners in scoring position, guys are trying to do way too much. It’s something that’s gonna happen when you have a younger team like we do.”
Chicago (5-2) is off to its best start since it started with the same mark in 2012. Quintana threw 60 of his 100 pitches for strikes, allowing four hits. He struck out five while walking three in earning his first win of the season.
“It was cold, very cold. My hands dried really quick,” Quintana said. “I tried to be quick in the sun. I tried to throw first pitch for strike. Sometimes I miss a couple, but I tried to attack quick.”
Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson took the loss, allowing three runs, only one of them earned, in 5 2/3 innings, striking out three and walking three in dropping to 0-2.
Melky Cabrera, Brett Lawrie and Todd Frazier each had a pair of hits to pace the White Sox on offense, and closer David Robertson retired the Twins in order in the ninth for his third save.
Lawrie’s dribbler up the middle through a drawn-in infield scored Frazier to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
Jackson’s two-run single in the fourth pushed the lead to 3-0 before the Twins had a golden opportunity to jump back into the game in the bottom half, getting a walk from Miguel Sano and a double from Trevor Plouffe to put a pair of runners in scoring position with nobody out.
But Byung Ho Park popped out in foul territory ahead of Eddie Rosario’s groundout to second, which plated Minnesota’s only run. The threat was extinguished when Eduardo Escobar struck out swinging to end the inning.
“(Quintana) did a nice job of getting out of some tough spots,” Ventura said. “Especially in that second-and-third (situation in the fourth inning), he only gave up one run right there. He did a lot of it on his own today.”
The Twins advanced Joe Mauer to third with one out in the sixth but he was unable to score on Park’s fly out to center field. A rare shower of Opening Day boos rained down from the stands.
“Not surprising,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We didn’t give them a lot to cheer about today.”
Frazier tacked on a run in the ninth with a double into the left-field corner that scored Jose Abreu from first following a leadoff walk.
White Sox right-hander Matt Albers pitched an inning of shutout relief, extending his scoreless streak to 26 1/3 innings, the longest active streak in the majors.
NOTES: The game-time temperature of 42 degrees was the second-coldest home opener in Target Field history and 11th coldest game overall. ... White Sox OF Adam Eaton was reinstated from the paternity list before the game. Eaton had nine hits in 20 at-bats before attending to the birth of his son on Sunday. ... To make room for Eaton, the White Sox optioned RHP Michael Ynoa to Double-A Birmingham. ... The White Sox and Twins will continue their three-game series at Target Field on Wednesday. Chicago will send left-hander Carlos Rodon (0-1, 2.57 ERA) to the mound against Minnesota righty Phil Hughes (0-1, 4.50 ERA).