Posts Tagged ‘A.J. Pierzynski’

Stewart making good impression for future

September 5, 2011 Comments off

By Jordan Schelling /

MINNEAPOLIS — In his first White Sox start, Zach Stewart got his first career win against the Twins. Making his fifth start with Chicago on Monday night, Stewart delivered a masterful performance against the Twins to record his first career complete game and shutout.Stewart threw a one-hitter, retiring 27 of 28 batters faced, with a leadoff double in the eighth inning by Danny Valencia being the only blemish on his near-perfect game. Impressively, he did it after allowing 13 runs over 10 2/3 innings in his previous two starts.

“I was a little more down in the zone today compared to the last two,” Stewart said after the 4-0 win in the second game of a doubleheader sweep. “I didn’t miss as many spots I guess.”

The rookie right-hander also said he started a few batters with breaking balls after noticing early in the game the Twins were jumping on fastballs early in the count.

Whatever he did, it amounted to an impressive outing, in which Stewart delivered a career-high 114 pitches and struck out a career-best nine batters.

“He’s been a real nice addition. I think he’s a quality big league starter,” White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. “Obviously, he’s been showing that, too. He’s got not only a good arm, but he’s got some touch and he knows how to pitch, which for a young guy that’s pretty good.”

Stewart said he was not really aware of the perfect game until the fifth or sixth inning, and that he really did not let it affect him until he tried to lock in and focus on finishing it out in the eighth.

Stewart is 2-3 with a 4.56 ERA this season, and he has gone 2-2 with a 4.41 ERA since being acquired by the White Sox from the Blue Jays in late July.

Aside from his poor outings in his previous two starts entering Monday’s game, Stewart is 2-1 with a 1.25 ERA in his three other White Sox starts. He’s made quite an impression along the way as well.

“He’s had some really good starts. It’s good to see a young guy come out like that and pitch the way he’s pitched,” said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who watched Stewart’s dominant outing from the bench.

“He’s got good composure, he throws the ball over the plate, he’s not afraid, and he made guys put the bat on the ball. When you put those things together in this ballpark that’s not easy to hit home runs in, you’ve got a recipe for success.”

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was especially impressed with Stewart’s composure on the mound after giving up his first hit of the game in the eighth.

After giving up that hit, Stewart picked up right where he had left off, retiring the final six batters he faced after getting the first 21 batters of the game.

“This kid, to give up the no-hitter, perfect game, whatever it was, to right away throw the ball around the plate again, [saying] ‘Go hit it.’ Man on third base, no panic,” Guillen said. “That’s a good thing when kids carry themselves that way on the mound.”

White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers, who worked behind the plate after Pierzynski caught the first game of the split doubleheader, also liked Stewart’s reaction after the 22nd batter of the game finally broke through for a hit.

Flowers said he hopes Stewart’s performance is something the White Sox can build upon.

“It’s good to see for the future,” Flowers said. “Hopefully, we can put a run together here toward the end, but if not, it’s good to have that kind of arm for the next few years.

“I thought he was going to crack a smirk or something out there [after the double], but he was like, ‘All right. Let’s get the next guy.’ So that’s good to see.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.