CHICAGO (AP) — Avisail Garcia and White Sox manager Rick Renteria are already excited about the returns from the 25-year-old’s offensive adjustment.
The idea is simple: Just make contact, and big hits will follow.
Garcia homered and had three RBIs, Geovany Soto also went deep and Chicago handed the Minnesota Twins their first loss of the season with a 6-2 victory on Saturday.
Garcia was 3 for 4 on the day and is 8 for 16 this season.
“He’s not trying to hit homers, he’s just trying to have good at-bats,” Renteria said. “He’s a strong man. When he puts the barrel of the bat on the baseball, it’s got a chance to travel. It happened today.”
Garcia was a double shy of the cycle. The right fielder had a two-run triple in the second inning against starter Adalberto Mejia (0-1), and he and Soto hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth — Soto’s third of the season in four games.
“You don’t have to do too much,” Garcia said. “You just have to see the ball and hit it. The homers will come. I know I have power.”
The Twins (4-1) were looking to start 5-0 for the first time since 1968 but lacked the strong pitching that carried them in their first four games.
Mejia lasted just 1 2/3 innings in his first MLB start, and Minnesota’s bullpen allowed three runs, snapping a 16 2/3-inning scoreless streak.
“We talked about having some really clean games in the first four,” manager Paul Molitor said. “Today was a different story. We made some mistakes, and they made us pay.”
Miguel Gonzalez (1-0) pitched six solid innings for Chicago, striking out six while allowing seven hits. The right-hander has won his past three decisions.
Zach Putnam threw two shutout innings of relief, and Dan Jennings finished the game with a scoreless ninth.
Jason Castro hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning to account for Minnesota’s offense. The Twins were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, and they stranded eight runners on base.
In addition to the new approach, Garcia is also crediting his new diet.
“I feel great, I feel light,” Garcia said. “Last year, it was steak, then chicken, then steak, then steak, then steak. This year, it’s been steak, then fish, then fish, then fish. I don’t want to get fat.”
Minnesota’s Mejia impressed for much of spring training, posting a 1.88 ERA and 14 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings, but was unable to carry that success into April.
A DAY TO FORGET
Twins 3B Miguel Sano struggled mightily, both in the field and at the plate. He finished the day with three strikeouts and two errors — one on a botched rundown that resulted in Chicago’s third run.
Twins: 1B Joe Mauer was back in the lineup Saturday after sitting out Friday, and, in part due to his injury history, more rest is likely in his future. “Last year he played a lot of games until he came down with a quad injury,” Molitor said. “(We’re) trying to be a little smarter earlier this season.”
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (1-0, 1.29 ERA) takes the mound in Sunday’s series finale.
White Sox: LHP Jose Quintana (0-1, 10.13) allowed six or more earned runs just once over a 49-start stretch in 2015 and 2016, but has since allowed that number in three of his past eight.
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)