The White Sox lost their home opener Friday, falling meekly by a 6-0 score to the Minnesota Twins in a matchup of AL Central Division teams trying to avoid an 0-4 start.
Unable to solve lefty Tommy Milone, the Sox were somewhat close to being no-hit in the process, disappointing a sellout crowd of 38,533. Many of those tickets sold were gobbled up during an offseason that renewed optimism in a team that had lost 89 games last season, but many ticket holders booed throughout the game and likely left U.S. Cellular Field — many of them early — wondering if all the hype was warranted.
“Listen, we’ve all been booed before,” said third baseman Gordon Beckham, who was 0-for-3, lining out twice including once to deep left field. “It’s not great, but it is Game 1 here at home, so we’ve got a good team.”
Until Tyler Flowers doubled to left-center against Milone with two out in the eighth, the only Sox hit was a bunt single by rookie second baseman Micah Johnson leading off the third. Johnson advanced to second but was caught stealing when he broke for third on Milone’s leg-lift and throw to second.
Milone walked two and struck out two over 7 2/3 scoreless innings, leaving after Flowers’ double halted a streak of 16 batters retired in succession. Sox starter Hector Noesi managed to avoid giving up more than two runs over 4 2/3 and a whopping 110 pitches. Noesi walked six, struck out six, committed a balk, hit one batter and threw two wild pitches. Noesi pitched out of two bases-loaded jams to avoid more damage.
“You go out and the only hit you’ve got is a bunt, there’s frustration,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You got some hits there late but that’s not enough. These guys are going to end up having to go through it. It looks bad and everything else but you’ve gotta go through it and they’ll be a better group when they go through it and it turns around.”
After getting swept convincingly by the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium to open the season, the Sox returned to Chicago for their home opener, downplaying the 0-3 start.
“The fact of the matter is is there is likely going to be a spot at some point this season where we are going to lose three in a row,” general manager Rick Hahn said before the game. “Unfortunately it came the first three of the season which lends to overreaction. It lends to people extrapolating out trends or themes which frankly are very likely not there.”
Sox closer David Robertson, signed as a free agent for $46 million over four years, hasn’t had a a save situation yet. He pitched one inning in Kansas City.
“Yeah, believe me, no one wants to start out 0-3,” the former Yankee said before the game. “I think we started out awful in New York in ’09, so you can’t look at the first three games and predict the entire season on it. We’ve got a good group of guys. We’ve just got to go out and play good baseball and win some games. We’ve got to get that first one under our belt.”The Sox, who had three hits Friday, have been outscored 27-7 in four games.“I’m not really concerned about what the fans think about our team,” Beckham said. “We know what we have. We know they want us to win. It’s just them being fans. We’ve been grinding all spring, and like I’ve said a million times, we’ve got a good team. There’s a lot of good in here. It’s just a matter of time.”