video thumbnail

MIN@CWS: Viciedo drives in four with a trio of hits

CHICAGO -- The White Sox returned to U.S. Cellular Field on Monday bruised and battered from their 10-game road trip.

They've used the past three days to prove they are not yet beaten.

The White Sox, who three days ago were riding a five-game losing streak, completed a three-game sweep of the Twins with an 8-2 win Wednesday.

"I think you get that feeling back," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's one thing to go through a tough stretch. And to start winning games, expecting that, I think that's part of this three-game series you get back."

The series represented the only three home games in a three-week stretch for the White Sox, who posted their first home sweep of the Twins since June 2008. Chicago also improved to 16-5 in its last 21 games against its division rival.

"They whacked it and they pounded us, scored a lot of runs, and we got dominated here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Outfielders Dayan Viciedo and Alex Rios each homered as the White Sox scored two runs in four straight innings off Twins starter Nick Blackburn (4-6, 7.99 ERA), who was chased in the fifth. Viciedo went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and drove in four runs, while Rios had a two-run shot of his own in the fifth. Alexei Ramirez added two hits and scored twice.

"They definitely swung the bats pretty well this series," Blackburn said. "We had a game plan going in there and trying to make them uncomfortable and mix it up and all that stuff, and we just weren't able to execute."

Rios is hitting .386 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in his last 25 games, while Ramirez is batting .371 in his last 34 games, half of which have been multihit efforts.

Viciedo's three hits tied a career high, while the 23-year-old left fielder closed the homestand by hitting .555 (5-for-9) with a double, homer and six RBIs in the final two games.

"I do feel really good about the swing," Viciedo said through translator and White Sox manager of cultural development Jackson Miranda. "The biggest thing for me right now is not to hurry things, just stay even-keeled and stay in a good rhythm."

Viciedo also has produced go-ahead hits for the White Sox in each of the last two games.

"You can tell by the way he's hitting the ball, just the velocity coming off the bat, he feels pretty good at the plate," Ventura said.

Viciedo and the offense backed right-hander Jake Peavy, who finally received the offensive support he had recently been lacking. Peavy (8-7, 3.15 ERA) entered Wednesday with a 3.39 ERA in his last nine starts, but he was only 1-6 in that stretch thanks to getting an average of just 2.54 runs of support.

Peavy wasn't his sharpest Wednesday, but worked six tough innings. He threw 121 pitches, most of which came while getting out of jams in the first and fourth innings.

The right-hander allowed consecutive hits and walked a batter to load the bases with no outs in the first inning before inducing a run-scoring double play ground ball. First baseman Adam Dunn ended the frame with a nice grab behind the bag and a flip to Peavy.

In the fourth, a dropped fly ball by Viciedo -- the left fielder's first error of the season -- put Joe Mauer at second to lead off the inning. After walking Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau doubled to score Mauer, but Peavy struck out the next three batters to escape the jam.

Peavy allowed six hits, walked two and struck out six, while the bullpen worked three scoreless innings to preserve the win.

"There is a difference when you get some runs," Peavy said. "You can be aggressive and relax a little bit. I don't mean that in a bad way where you're not concentrating and doing your thing, but it's a different ballgame when you're pitching with a lead."

The White Sox follow their abbreviated homestand with another road trip, this one a seven-gamer that begins after Thursday's off-day and takes them to Texas and Minnesota. Although the stay home was short, it could have been long enough to provide a jolt.

"The boys came home and swung the bats well these three games and we just played good team baseball," Peavy said. "It's nice to come back after the road trip we had. We had a short homestand but we played well, got back on track. We have our hands full this weekend with Texas, but we ended this day on a nice note."

MLB.com Comments