White Sox use power to knock off Twins on Opening Day

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 1, 2014 - 12:39 AM

 

– Opening Day is about the traditions. The red, white and blue bunting on the walls, the celebrity throwing the first pitch, the giant flag unfurled in the outfield and the introduction of the players along the foul line.

Oh, and the Twins offense fizzling.

Kurt Suzuki drove in three runs Monday in his first game with his new team, but his teammates were blanked by Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale as the Twins dropped their sixth consecutive season opener 5-3 at U.S. Cellular Field. It marked the seventh year in a row, and ninth time in a decade that the Twins mustered three runs or fewer on Opening Day, which explains the 2-8 record over that time.

“I thought we played pretty decent,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Just a couple of mistakes, and they end up in the seats.”

Alejandro De Aza put them there, connecting twice off his former Marlins teammate Ricky Nolasco. The righthander, the Twins’ $49 million free-agent investment this past offseason, gave up four runs in a messy first three innings, then settled down to retire nine of the last 11 hitters he faced. Nolasco starts the season with a 7.50 ERA, most of it due to De Aza.

“That’s what’s going to happen when you leave the ball in the middle against a good hitter,” said Nolasco, who gave up five runs on 10 hits over six innings. “I tried to throw a cutter there in the [second] inning, tried to get him to hit something foul, but it stayed middle, and he did a good job of hitting that ball.”

De Aza did, blasting the ball into a steady gale from right field and still managing to get it a dozen rows deep into the seats. Cuban important Jose Abreu scored in front of him for Chicago, and the Twins found themselves behind from the start.

They rallied, however, thanks to Suzuki, their $2.75 million investment as Joe Mauer’s successor behind the plate. And hitting in Mauer’s old spot in the order — only the second time he has batted second since 2009 — Suzuki produced just as Gardenhire had hoped. He singled twice in four at-bats, each time with runners in scoring position.

“He’s a great contact guy. [Against Sale], you’ve got to be able to put the ball in play,” Gardenhire said of putting Suzuki near the top of the lineup.

“The bottom of the lineup needs to roll over and put some people on, and we need to get them in.”

It worked a couple of times, with Aaron Hicks, the former leadoff hitter now batting eighth, knocking a single and a double to set up Suzuki. The catcher’s two-out hit to left field in the third inning brought home Oswaldo Arcia, who had walked, and Hicks to tie the score. In the eighth inning, Suzuki’s sharp grounder up the middle off reliever Ronald Belisario cashed in on Hicks’ leadoff double.

“I try not to do too much. I just try to barrel up the ball,” Suzuki said.

“You don’t have to hit a homer to drive in runs.”

It worked for De Aza, though. In the sixth, he jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Nolasco, hitting a low liner that carried into the Twins bullpen, the first White Sox player to homer twice on Opening Day since Jim Thome in 2008, and the first to do it in Chicago since Minnie Minoso in 1960.

In between, Chicago added two runs during Nolasco’s sloppiest inning, when three of the first four hitters in the third collected hits. Abreu’s single scored one to put Chicago ahead to stay. Adam Dunn then hit a popup that looked as if it would land around second base.

The gusty wind blew it far off course, however, and shortstop Pedro Florimon finally slid into foul territory in short left field to catch it.

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NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles - LP: J. Wright 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 3
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera 2
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 4th Qtr 0:06
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 4th Qtr 1:39
Hawaii 16
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Portland 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
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