Some extras from a night that left the Twins frustrated:
The Twins know Hector Santiago can be hit, and they know they can do the hitting against him. But on Wednesday, more than a year since his last victory in Target Field, the former Twins lefthander and current Chicago reclamation project reminded his old team that he’s a master of muddling through.
Santiago, allowed to walk away after last season’s 5.63-ERA debacle, pitched five messy, imperfect innings, but departed with his first victory at his old home park since May 3, 2017.
The White Sox pitcher, whose Twins career ended last July when he couldn’t throw his fastball harder than the mid-80s, seemed to take no extra pride in beating his old team.
“They beat the crap out of me last time in Chicago, so it was nice to come back here and get a win against them,” Santiago said. “It’s all in good fun out there. You’re competing, and between the lines, you don’t care who you’re facing. You kind of want to get them out and you don’t mind throwing the ball up and in.”
He even greeted Brian Dozier, whose locker was directly across from his in the Twins clubhouse, with a sidearm fastball.
“Dozier is like, ‘Is that the first time you’ve done that?’ “ Santiago said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, you’re the first person I threw a sidearm to.’ You have some good fun. But you’re still competing and trying to beat them.”
While Santiago earned the win, Jake Odorizzi bounced back from last weekend’s eight-run debacle against the Indians with a pretty good outing. Odorizzi seemed like his usual self — meaning, extraordinarily effective. For awhile.
The Twins’ righthander retired the first eight White Sox batters in order, and 11 of the first 12, but ran into trouble with a two-out walk in the fourth inning. Back-to-back singles by Kevan Smith and Tim Anderson turned the walk into a run.
But Odorizzi’s pitch count, a problem all season, kept rising rapidly. “In the fourth inning, I went 3-2 on four guys in a row, and that really drives it up,” the righthander said. “Today was much more frustrating than the last one, just because I felt like I was in control for the most part, and it got away. I thought my stuff was considerably better, just from a pure feel standpoint than it was against the Indians.”
In the sixth inning, when the White Sox led off with consecutive singles by Yolmer Sanchez and Jose Abreu, his count hit 99 and his night was done. It marked the fourth straight start that Odorizzi has pitched five innings or fewer, and the 17th consecutive start, including all 13 with the Twins, that he has not recorded an out in the seventh inning.
Odorizzi sounded frustrated, too, that Abreu’s single on an 0-2 slider was a single, and not a double play, or at least an out. But Ehire Adrianza was shifted far into the hole, ran a long way to field it, and held the ball.
“With two strikes, a lot of guys kind of focus on [hitting] back up the middle. So I threw the pitch that I wanted, got the result that I wanted,” Odorizzi said. “It's frustrating. I didn't know we were shifted so far in the hole. As pitchers, we probably have a responsibility to, if we see that, make an adjustment on our own. So I can partially take the blame for it; I didn't know he was shaded that far to the left.”
Still, Odorizzi said, he feels like he did his job. “Double plays are a pitcher's best friend for a reason, especially in big situations like that. Doing it all over again, I'd make the same pitch and hope for the right result,” he said. “If we're playing two steps to the left, it's a much easier play to at least get an out, not even two.”
Miguel Sano took three pitches for a strikeout in the first inning, hit into a double play in the third inning, and flew out and struck out again in his last two at-bats. That brings his June total to 2-for-18 (.111) with nine strikeouts.
“He seems to be having a hard time recognizing pitches,” Molitor said. “The chase on sliders, we’ve seen repetitively. I know he was out there early, trying to clean things up and stay on the ball and use the other side of the field. … If you’re not picking up pitches and swinging at strikes, that makes it really difficult.”