Chris Sale was on Saturday – he struck out 10 Minnesota Twins and walked only one for the 20th double-digit strikeout game of his young career – but he was off just enough in the early going to cost him a victory.
“We lost the game right there in the second inning giving up two homers,’’ Sale said after the Twins held on for a 4-3 victory before 38,714 celebrating fans who came to see Paul Konerko’s jersey retired. “I just have to be down with it, anytime, no matter how hard it is, if it’s up they’re going to take advantage.’’
Torii Hunter and Eduardo Nunez hit solo homers in the second, and a pair of runs in the third – one unearned because of third baseman Conor Gillaspie’s throwing error — made the difference. The Sox also scored early, on an RBI single by Alexei Ramirez in the second and an RBI triple by Adam Eaton in the third followed by Melky Cabrera’s RBI groundout.
After that, Sale (3-2) and Twins right-hander Trevor May (3-3) were in command. Glen Perkins struck out Tyler Flowers looking with Ramirez on second and J.B. Shuck on first to end the game and earn his 16th save in 16 opportunities.
The main event
Konerko entered the field from an opening in the center-field wall, waving to the crowd and stopping to pick up a baseball in the dirt behind second base where his No. 14 was stenciled in.
“That’s certainly not in my character but it was all right,’’ said Konerko, who waited anxiously for 10-15 minutes behind the wall. “I thought the walk was going to be like ‘how many times can I wave?’ I wanted to try to look natural but that’s like the least natural thing.’’
From the chairman
Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, in a statement on Konerko: “His baseball statistics speak for themselves, and his value to the organization and to our community of Chicago exceeds all he accomplished on the baseball diamond. Paul has left a lasting impression on this city and this team, while leaving all of us with memories that will last forever. Thank you, Paulie.”
This and that
Manager Robin Ventura would not say when Carlos Rodon, who is being skipped in the rotation Monday in Toronto, will make his next start. The Sox are monitoring the 22-year-old’s workload, but he didn’t rule out Rodon being available soon in relief.
Hector Noesi will start in Rodon’s place, with John Danks and Jeff Samardzija following in the start of a tough 11-game, four-city road trip that continues in Baltimore (for a makeup doubleheader), Houston and Texas.
*Avisail Garcia missed a second straight game with inflammation in his right knee. Ventura said it was precautionary but didn’t commit to Garcia starting Sunday.
*Gillaspie’s error was his team-high seventh.
“One run’s a big deal in this league so you have to be able to be cleaner and eliminate all that,’’ Ventura said.
*Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks made the play of the game, laying out to make a running catch of an Eaton drive near the warning track in right-center, robbing Eaton of a triple.