White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper altered the release point for Hector Noesi, then he tinkered with his follow through, and ultimately he has rebuilt his confidence.
The 27-year-old right-hander joined the Sox off waivers from the Rangers on April 25 with an ERA of 14.21.
After Sunday's 1-0 victory over the Mariners, Noesi's ERA dipped to a much more respectable 4.90.
The Sox scored in the first inning on a wild pitch by Taijuan Walker (1-1). And Noesi tossed 62/3 scoreless innings before Eric Surkamp and Jake Petricka handled their business. Petricka earned his third save, pitching the eighth and ninth.
"Cooper said: 'I'm going to fix you.' So I believe everything that he says. He is doing good with me," Noesi said after the Sox took two of three from the Mariners. "They give me the opportunity to start and they tell me to just go and do what you have to do."
Cooper, who has spent time with Noesi on a regular basis, has urged him to raise his release point.
Noesi pitched in 36 games over three years with the Mariners, but he insisted revenge was not part of his agenda Sunday.
"It crossed my mind, but I put it out of my mind because I would try to do too much," he said.
Manager Robin Ventura told a different story.
"(Noesi) was probably motivated by that," he said. "He was good. He had a great changeup, had a good feel for it. It looked lively coming out of his hand. He got in a few little ruts there, but when you can throw that changeup at any time, I think that just becomes an equalizer for him.
"If he can locate his fastball, it just seems to jump out of his hand. But the changeup is really the feel pitch for him that he's acquired since he's been here … of being able to throw it at any time."
The Sox scored the lone run in the first when Conor Gillaspie drew a two-out walk before Jose Abreu singled to put runners at the corners. Walker then unleashed a wild pitch to allow Gillaspie to score.
Noesi left with two outs in the seventh in favor of Surkamp. The lefty walked Michael Saunders to load the bases but retired Robinson Cano on a fly out to center to end the threat.
Noesi (3-6) made his sixth quality start and has a 3.46 ERA in his last three. On Sunday he allowed five hits while walking two and fanning five.
"He's a tough kid. He's confident and he knows what he can do," Ventura said. "Sometimes you get an opportunity and you run with it, and I think that's what he's done. Any time you go through the route that he's been out on and you get a chance to show what you've got, he's going to do it. You tip your hat to him. He's been able to do that for us and he's been a big lift for us."
The Sox have won six of nine and are 16-5 against the Mariners in their last 21.
The Sox aided their pitchers with sparkling defense.
"When we get good pitching, we can have two hits and win," center fielder Adam Eaton said. "It's absolutely amazing. We haven't been pulling our weight, and it's a good thing our pitching staff came through. Noesi (threw) a heck of a game. The guy is a world talent, and it definitely showed today."
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