MINNEAPOLIS — Jeff Samardzija snapped a personal six-game losing streak Thursday afternoon as he and the White Sox rebounded from an awful start.
Samardzija settled in after he allowed a grand slam and his offense chipped away at Kyle Gibson and the Minnesota Twins bullpen as the White Sox avoided a series sweep with a 6-4 victory at Target Field.
J.B. Shuck’s pinch-hit, two-run triple and Avisail Garcia’s two RBIs helped the White Sox to only their fifth victory in 16 tries against Minnesota this season. The victory is the first for Samardzija since July 28 and he had to work hard to earn it.
“When you’re in the situation I’ve been in here the last month, that next turning point doesn’t come easy,” Samardzija said. “Very rarely do you come out and go eight innings, shutout and get the win 10-0. Usually you’ve got to kick that by going out and working hard and trusting your stuff and battling, and something like that will happen that can turn the tides.”
Samardzija’s fortunes changed when he was better able to command the outside corner to right-handed hitters on Thursday.
Before that, chances of avoiding the sweep and a seventh straight loss didn’t appear to be too good. Samardzija walked four of the first 14 batters he faced and paid for it when Eddie Rosario hit a grand slam in the third inning to put the Twins ahead 4-1.
But Samardzija — who had an 8.82 ERA in losing his last six starts — found a rhythm. He struck out Chris Herrman to end the third inning and retired 11 of 12 batters into the seventh inning.
“Early on he just seemed to be getting around it,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He finally found that and took care of it and was able to hit the opposite side of the plate. He seemed to be hooking everything on the first base side. After the homer, it just seemed like he was able to correct it and pitch well.
“He grinded through it. Nobody wants to give up the homer like that but he put it behind him.”
Samardzija exited after he allowed a one-out single in the seventh inning but Nate Jones eventually took over to hold down the Twins. Samardzija allowed four earned runs and five hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
The right-hander’s rally spurred on his team’s.
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They got a run in the fourth on Alexei Ramirez’s two-out RBI single and another in the sixth on Avisail Garcia’s sac fly. Garcia also had an RBI groundout in the first.
The White Sox completed their rally in the seventh inning against Casey Fien and Co. Ramirez singled and Geo Soto walked ahead of a sac bunt and Shuck ripped a two-run triple to left-center field to give the White Sox a 5-4 lead. Adam Eaton’s sac fly made it a two-run game.
Jones made it hold up with 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out three. His last out was the biggest as Jones retired Miguel Sano with a man aboard two days after the rookie hit a game-tying homer off the hard-throwing right-hander.
David Robertson pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 28th save in 34 tries.
“Great (win),” Shuck said. “Samardzija did a great job. He had that one inning they put up four and I felt like they never had anywhere where they even sniffed scoring a run. He did a great job of shutting them down and then the bullpen came in and did a great job, Jonesy and Robertson and Jennings. So it was great to get everybody back on pace.”