Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Erik Johnson strikes out eight for first win
By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- After committing five errors in Erik Johnson’s first two starts, both losses, this time out the Chicago White Sox scored a season high in runs. Johnson tossed six shutout innings, striking out eight in the 12-1 blowout of the Minnesota Twins.
Chicago snapped a six-game losing streak by hitting four home runs in support of the young starter’s first major league victory.
“He pitched well “ said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. “You are seeing him pitch for the third time; when you don’t give up any runs, you are kind of making your way through the lineup.
Rookie White Sox pitcher Erik Johnson threw six scoreless innings to collect his first MLB victory Monday against the Twins.
“That is real improvement. That is good stuff here, getting pitches when he needs them.”
Johnson was named to Baseball America’s 2013 Minor League All-Star Team late last week. With a youth movement gearing up for next season, Chicago is looking at youngsters like Johnson as possible rotation pitchers in 2014.
Due to a high pitch count (112), Ventura removed Johnson after six innings.
“He was getting up there,” Ventura explained. “You have to start attacking the zone. With a lead like that you have to be aggressive and not pick around the zone.”
Chicago scored seven times in the first inning, giving the pitcher wiggle room when he went out to pitch the second inning.
“This is where I want to be,” Johnson said. “It is another start to build off of. Each time I go out there I try to learn something new and build off of your last start.”
The White Sox had struggled to score as of late. Over the previous seven games on the homestand, they had scored a total of 12 runs in losing six of seven.
Alexei Ramirez tied his career high, chipping in with four hits, including his seventh home run of the season. The Sox scored more than six runs for the first time since an Aug. 26 loss to the Houston Astros.