Another beauty from Sale maintains White Sox's lead

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 14, 2012 - 11:35 PM

The Twins are trying to be spoilers, but the White Sox maintained their one-game lead over Detroit.

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With Justin Verlander tossing seven innings in Detroit's 4-0 victory in Cleveland on Friday night, White Sox lefthander Chris Sale held serve, blanking the Twins for six innings in a 6-0 win at Target Field.

Those two pitchers were scheduled to meet Thursday in Chicago, but the game was postponed until Monday. The Twins are trying to be spoilers, but the White Sox maintained their one-game lead over Detroit.

Sale (17-6) allowed just three hits, improving to 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in three starts against the Twins this year.

"We really didn't do much offensively, but that's because of that guy on the mound; he's pretty good," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We hit a few balls hard. [Justin] Mourneau had a couple hits. [Trevor] Plouffe had a couple line-drive rockets, but we just weren't able to get into any flow."

Esmerling Vasquez (0-2) took the loss, giving up three runs over 52/3 innings. The 28-year-old righthander allowed just three hits but walked five batters for the second straight start.

Still, Gardenhire said he was pleased that Vasquez continued battling after walking three consecutive hitters in the fourth inning, including a bases-loaded free pass for Dayan Viciedo that gave Chicago a 2-0 lead.

"I felt more confident in my stuff today," Vasquez said. "I stayed more aggressive, and I used my pitches -- my curveball and my slider and my changeup. I threw more first-pitch strikes, too, so I think that helped me a little bit."

Twins add catcher

The Twins promoted prospect Chris Herrmann, giving them another catcher with Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit banged up.

Mauer missed his fourth consecutive game because of back spasms but took swings in the batting cage. Doumit hasn't played since Wednesday because of a strained oblique but was available off the bench.

Herrmann batted .276 with a .350 on-base percentage and .392 slugging percentage for Class AA New Britain and is headed to the Arizona Fall League next month. The Twins were ready to add him to the 40-man roster this fall.

Herrmann, 24, also plays left field, and General Manager Terry Ryan noted how that could help with Josh Willingham dealing with a hamstring issue and Chris Parmelee expected to leave soon for the birth of his first child.

Johnson's homecoming

With the Rays down to their last strike on the final day of the 2011 season, Dan Johnson connected for a game-tying home run, helping lift them to the playoffs. But the former Blaine High School star had to wait until Sept. 1 to play in his next big league game.

Johnson, 33, signed a minor league deal with the White Sox and spent five months at Class AAA Charlotte, batting .267 with a .388 OBP and 28 home runs. In six games with the White Sox entering Friday, the lefthanded-hitting Johnson was 5-for-10, including 1-for-2 as a pinch hitter.

"The biggest thing for me this year was to prove I was healthy," said Johnson, who played through a wrist injury last season. "I really believe I can still come in and do some damage when those [close and late] situations arise."

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