The Twins knew that Stephen Gonsalves 90-mile-per-hour fastball could be a problem in a sport that is becoming addicted to launch angle and exit velocity. So they had him work on rounding out his game.
Already equipped with an effective changeup, Gonsalves worked on improving the quality and command on his slider and curveball. He was going to have to throw the entire toolbox at opponents in order to be effective.
The lefthander worked on being someone who could throw any pitch at any time, and the Twins felt he was ready.
With a group of about 25 family members and friends in the stands, Gonsalves, a fourth-round pick in 2013, tried to tame a Chicago lineup with a few tough outs in it. After waiting through a 33-minute rain delay, it didnt go well, as he needed 55 pitches to get four outs.
After stranding two men on base in the first inning, the White Sox knocked Gonsalves out of the game with a four-run second inning, fueling their 8-5 victory over the Twins in a makeup game of a snowed-out affair on April 15. The teams will head to Chicago for two more games.
Gonsalves was charged with four earned runs on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Two of the hits went for extra bases, and he hit a batter.
I think hes learned how to use his pitches better, and the fact that hes got more confidence in both the curve and the slider, Twins manager Paul Molitor said before the game. Hell use all four, but the change up being his best secondary pitch that hes not afraid to throw to lefties as well to get them off the fastball. And, even though he doesnt throw particularly hard, his fastball is an effective pitch.
He put the Twins in a 4-0 hole after two innings. Tyler Austins RBI double in the bottom of the inning got the Twins on the board. After the White Sox scored in the fourth to take a 5-1 lead, Jake Cave mashed a two-run homer to center the second consecutive game hes done that to get the Twins within 5-3.
Matt Davidson hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Trevor May and Daniel Palka added a RBI double in the eighth off Addison Reed as Chicago moved out to a 8-3 lead.
As effective as he was at Class AAA Rochester, Gonsalves will come away from Monday realizing that being effective in the minors can be vastly different than the majors. With Ervin Santana and Adalberto Mejia on the disabled list and Lance Lynn traded to the Yankees, Gonsalves should get a few more starts to show what kind of pitcher he can be.
He needed 21 pitches to get through the first inning. Tim Anderson led off the game with a lineout to right. Leury Garcias single to center was solidly hit and Palkas double to right center was squared up, too. But Gonsalves struck out Avisail Garcia to get out of the inning.
Nicky Delmonico led off the second with a triple, bringing Matt Davidson up. Gonsalves went, in order, fastball, slider, changeup, curve. But Davidson hit a changeup to right for an RBI single.
Yolmer Sanchez walked, then Kevan Smith, the No. 9 hitter, was hit by a curveball, the fuse was lit.
Tim Anderson singled off a slider to drive in a run, then Jose Abreu drove in two runs by hitting a curve inside the left-field line. Gonsalves walked Palka on four pitches, and that was the end of his debut.