During his 11-game absence because of vertigo, pitching coach Don Cooper was forced to watch the White Sox’ games on television.
Even with the separation, he saw things that impressed him.
‘‘You might accuse us of a lot of things, but it’s not for a lack of effort, fight, competing — I see that happening,’’ said Cooper, who returned Friday night. ‘‘You get a little different perspective on TV. So there’s a lot to be happy about with our team and players.’’
The Sox showed a lot of what Cooper was talking about in a 10-8 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
‘‘They’ve been fighting like this for a while — offensively, just grinding out at-bats and being able to put it together,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. ‘‘I think even if you get down, they’re still feeling like they have a shot, and I think as soon as a guy gets on, they feel like stuff’s going to happen.’’
They needed that attitude after their best pitcher had a rare off night. Ace Chris Sale gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings. His ERA rose from 1.88 to 2.09, and the four earned runs he allowed in a five-run third matched his highest total for any start this season.
On a night like that, you’d think it would be tough for the Sox to continue the momentum from a 5-2 road trip that saw them take series from the Twins and the first-place Detroit Tigers. Sale’s outing was perhaps his worst of the season and could have deflated his teammates.
Trailing 7-6 in the eighth, the Sox batted around and scored four runs. They tied the game on a single by Paul Konerko, took the lead on a single by Alexei Ramirez and got two more RBI singles from Tyler Flowers and Alejandro De Aza.
Jake Petricka loaded the bases in the ninth and gave up three hits but allowed only one run and got the save, sealing the Sox’ 23rd come-from-behind win by getting Oswaldo Arcia swinging to end the game.
‘‘That’s the good stuff. You’re seeing guys grinding out at-bats and knock in runs,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘It becomes a bit contagious, and guys that have scuffled for a while . . . this is fun to actually be able to do it.’’
One Sox player hasn’t scuffled for a while. Jose Abreu continued his tear, going 3-for-3 and extending his American League-best hitting streak to 21 games. He has hit safely in 39 of his last 40 games.
He also walked and was hit by a pitch Friday. He has reached base in 10 consecutive plate appearances.
‘‘He’s been great,’’ Ventura said before the game. ‘‘I think he’s really learned going the other way, understanding what pitchers are trying to do to him. I don’t know if his approach necessarily has changed all that much because he’s always been pretty good at staying through the middle of the field and understanding what pitchers are trying to do to him and when they’re going to pitch to him, how they’re going to try to get him out.’’