CHICAGO – They play “Sweet Home Chicago” after every White Sox home game. It may as well be Kyle Gibson’s anthem.
Gibson pitched his third consecutive gem at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday, shutting the White Sox out for seven innings, and Brian Dozier, another eager Chicago tourist, smacked a pair of home runs. Together, they produced the Twins’ first victory over the White Sox in seven meetings this season, 4-0.
“We know that early in the year, they were tough on us, knocked us around for six games,” manager Paul Molitor said. “We talked about just trying to get back against some of these clubs that beat up on us early.”
They came to the right place. Minnesota won back-to-back road games for the first time this month and just the third time all season, but maybe they should have seen this one coming. Gibson, after all, has never lost a game in Chicago in five career starts, and on Tuesday, he pitched a virtual carbon-copy of his last one: seven innings, no runs, five hits, one walk and seven strikeouts. That game, last Sept. 13, was the last shutout recorded by the Twins until Tuesday; Gibson has not allowed a run in his past 18⅔ innings here.
“I didn’t know that,” Gibson said of his Chicago success. “I just kind of had all the pitches working tonight.”
It wound up producing his first victory of the season, though Gibson said the big zero next to his name hadn’t bothered him. “I don’t worry about [personal] wins,” he said. “For me, it’s keeping the team in the game, and I was able to put up some zeros.”
Gibson isn’t the only one enjoying a rerun. In fact, after all the problems the Twins have had with repeating their mistakes this season, they finally stumbled upon a few things worth repeating.
Dozier in particular. The Twins’ second baseman launched a high fly ball that carried into the White Sox bullpen in the second inning, giving the Twins an early lead. Then he lined a pitch inside the left-field foul pole in the sixth, a three-run shot.
It was the third consecutive game in which Dozier had homered — he’s now tied with Byung Ho Park for the team lead at 12 — and his ninth straight game with an extra-base hit. “I’ve been feeling pretty good for a while,” Dozier said, “so I guess some of those bleeders keep falling in.”
Yes, those bleeders that land in the bullpen or shoot up the gap to the wall. “I like extra-base hits,” Dozier finally allowed. “They’re fun.”
His entire June hasn’t been bad. Dozier was batting just .202 entering June but has piled up 35 hits and seven home runs — both tying his career bests for a single month — to lift his batting average to .259.
“Heck of a month,” Molitor said. “He went through a fairly long period when he was trying to find something to get him back on track. … He’s just slowing himself down and getting a better look at the baseball.”