With a huge match-up against the Tigers looming the Sox kept the pressure on with their fourth straight victory, while the Tigers lost their second in a row putting the Sox five games back but only four back in the loss column. For awhile it looked like the Sox were going to let embattled Twins starter, Kevin Slowey, off the hook inning after inning, but aggressive base running and putting the ball in play lead to a 3-0 Sox victory. The third run of the game might not have happened if Adam Dunn was in the starting line-up. Alexei Ramirez lead off the inning with a single, then advanced to second on deep fly ball to center from Konerko. Dayan Viciedo was at the plate and made contact to put the ball in play. It was a slow roller to short that was cut-off by Twins third baseman, Danny Valencia, and dropped. Ramirez noticing how slowly the play was developing rounded third to come around and score. It was Viciedo’s fourth RBI in two games, and he picked up the struggling Alex Rios who grounded out to short to make it two outs.
All of the Sox scoring was provided by the kids, Alejandro De Aza made it happen with a double then stole third base which allowed Tyler Flowers to sacrifice him home on a deep fly ball to center. In the seventh, Viciedo singled, was sacrificed to second on a bunt by De Aza and scored on the Flowers double to deep center field. And the aforementioned third run was courtesy of the “Cuban Connection,” Viciedo driving in Ramirez.
Even though the kids provided the offense, one run would have been enough as veteran ACE, Mark Buehrle, dominated the Twins over 7-2/3 innings scattering four hits. Buehrle has been as good as any pitcher in the majors over his last 21 starts allowing 3-runs or less in 19 of them, and only allowing four in the other two outings. The Sox would be foolish not make it a priority to resign him to a multi-year deal. Jessie Crain came on and struck out Michael Cuddyer to finish out the eighth, and Sergio Santos converted his 27th save of the season to give the Sox the 3-0 shut out. Santos having 27 saves on the season is pretty amazing since he was given the closer role at the end of May, and still from time to time is not used if the hitters are primarily lefty.
Looking ahead to the Detroit series, game one puts the red-hot John Danks against Cy Young/MVP candidate, Justin Verlander. If both pitchers pitch as well as they have been it should be a dandy of a game. Danks is 6-1 with a 2.03 ERA over his last 11 starts, while Verlander is 9-2 with 2.47 ERA over his last 11. Next up, Twins again this evening with Zach Stewart on the mound for the Sox. Don’t stop now boys.