After Franciso Liriano held the White Sox bats silent in game one, it felt like this series was going to join a long list of times the Twins kicked them when they were down. Despite coming in at 1-7 with an ERA over five, Liriano baffled Sox hitters through seven innings. On the other side Peavy labored through his six innings, giving up 10 hits, but limited the damage to just three runs.
In game two, Gavin Floyd surprised us all. The Twins had spent a career teeing off on the right hander, but Floyd threw seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts. He hadn’t given up less than four runs since May 11th before his start last start with the Cubs. He held Mauer and Morneau down and the Sox bats did just enough on the home run by Alex Rios.
In the rubber match, Chris Sale again was masterful. He held on to his league leading ERA at 2.27 after going seven strong innings of two run baseball. Sale struck out five while walking one in picking up his ninth victory. Sale continues to be one of the front runners for the Cy Young.
To go along with his league leading ERA, Sale is one off the pace in the dinosaur writer stat of wins and trails Justin Verlander in strikeouts by 12. If you missed Mark Gonzales on Midway Baseball Today this week, he assured us there would be no innings cap on the lefty and he has a real chance at collecting hardware.
The biggest thing to come out of the finale may have been Adam Dunn busting out of a funk in a big way. Dunn belted a three run homer while going 4-5 and did not strike out. With Konerko and Dunn both scuffling at the same time, the Sox needed the Donkey to find it.
After a series win, the Sox sit with a 2.5 game lead as they head off to New York for a four game set. It’s a brutal stretch for the Sox as they head into the All Star break, but so far so good.
Series Studs: Kevin Youkilis had a hit in every game in his first three games with the South Siders and went 3-4 in the finale. The tandem of Sale/Floyd combined for 14 innings and two runs.
Series Duds: Gordon Beckham went 0 for the series after getting moved out of the two hole. Something to keep an eye on. For the Twins Blackburn showed why this team is 9.5 games back. Their offense is always trying to play from behind like they did in the game three with Blackburn giving up six.