Avisail Garcia powers White Sox to extra-inning win over Twins
MINNEAPOLIS –Avisail Garcia went 4-for-5 with a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 10th inning Sunday to carry the White Sox to a 3-1 victory over the Twins at Target Field.
Garcia tied a career high for hits, the fourth time he has collected four, also contributing a single off the right field wall that set up Matt Davidson’s go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth to snap a streak of 18 scoreless innings for the Sox.
Anthony Swarzak, Tommy Kahnle, Nate Jones (1-0) and David Robertson (perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his third save) combined for four innings of scoreless relief after James Shields made his third straight strong start.
Garcia connected against Ryan Pressly.
“It feels great,” Garcia said. “We won, and that’s all that matters. I was trying to do my job but not trying to do too much. I’m playing the game hard.”
Pressly left a fastball up and out over the plate where Garcia likes it.
“The first swing, I swung hard. But I said to myself, ‘Hey, don’t try to do too much. Just put the barrel on the ball, because he throws hard,’ ” Garcia said. “So that’s what I did. I just tried to pull the swing and hit the ball.”
Three starts into the season and Shields, the much maligned right-hander who came from the Padres in a questionable trade last June, is looking like the accomplished pitcher the Sox thought they were getting when they made the deal.
Shields’ six-inning performance was the third good outing in as many starts for the 35-year-old who ranks first in the major leagues in innings and starts since 2007. After going 6-19 with a dreadful 5.85 ERA between two teams last season, Shields is off to a crisp start with a 1.62 ERA. The only run he allowed was an inside the park homer by Brian Dozier leading off the fifth, one of nine hits against him all season over 16 2/3 innings.
Using a slow curve that read as low as 69 mph on the scoreboard gun, Shields struck out five and walked three.
“If you look at it, he’s re-inventing himself,” manager Rick Renteria said.
The Sox (6-5) took two of three from the defending AL champion Indians and two of three from the Twins (7-5).
“I don’t think they’re thinking about what we are or are not in terms of titles we’re given,” Renteria said. “The truth is everybody just has to play the game of baseball. They’re trying to do things that are baseball-driven, fundamentally doing things that keep them in ballgames. It doesn’t hurt that the relief [pitching] we’ve had and the starts we have had have been really, really good. So hopefully that continues.”