The Chicago White Sox used late runs and clutch hitting to erase a four-run deficit against the Minnesota Twins.
Lucas Giolito, coming off of his no-hitter, was countered by soft-tossing Rich Hill on Monday night. The first half of the game was sloppy for both clubs, but the late innings revealed a competitive game that teetered toward the Sox direction.
Minnesota opened the scoring in their half of the second with some assistance from the Sox defense. Eddie Rosario drew a walk to lead off. Miguel Sano singled to right, but on the play, Adam Engel misplayed the ball to allow Sano to advance to third. Luis Arraez singled home Rosario to make it 1–0 Twins. Marwin Gonzalez grounded a ball to second that Nick Madrigal threw into left field while attempting to turn two. Sano and Arraez scored to extend the Twins’ lead to 3–0. Another error would later be committed by Giolito, but no further damage was done.
Another run was added on in the Minnesota third. Sano used his barrel to put the ball over the wall in left-center field, extending the Sox deficit to 4–0.
The White Sox had a golden opportunity to put a crooked number on the board in the fourth. Edwin Encarnacion, James McCann, and Luis Robert all walked to load the bases. Danny Mendick looped a ball to second that Arraez dropped. A force out was made at second and a throw to first was made. The odd play was reviewed over by New York. It was determined that Arraez dropped the ball on purpose, so Robert was forced out at second. The bases remained loaded with one out. Adam Engel singled home Encarnacion and McCann to cut the lead in half, 4–2. Hill was then pulled from the game and replaced by Tyler Duffey. Madrigal struck out, Tim Anderson walked to reload the bases, but Eloy Jimenez grounded out to third to put and end to the threat.
More baserunners were stranded for the Sox just an inning later. Jose Abreu reached on a rocket single. Encarnacion walked for the second time in as many innings to put two on with no outs. McCann hit one back to Duffey, who threw to third to get the force out. Finally, Robert and Mendick were both retired to end the frame.
For the fourth-straight inning, the White Sox had the first two hitters on base. Pinch-hitting for Engel, Nomar Mazara faced new reliever Tyler Clippard and singled to left. Madrigal followed with a single of his own to turn the lineup over with nobody out. After retiring Anderson and Jimenez, Abreu doubled to right-center on a full-count pitch to tie the game at 4–4. Trevor May entered the game to replace Clippard and struck out Encarnacion to end the inning.
Codi Heuer entered the game for Giolito and the Sox in the bottom of the sixth. The rookie walked Sano to start the inning. He got Arraez to line out to center and Gonzalez to ground out, but on that ground out, Sano reached second safely. Jake Cave drove home Sano with a RBI-single to right, 5–4 Twins.
Robert ended the game on Sunday with a walk-off home run and he used that same act to tie the game again in the seventh. His tenth long ball off of May made it 5–5. An estimated 449 feet off of his bat.
After Jace Fry and Sergio Romo put together a scoreless eighth, Taylor Rogers came in for the Twins in the ninth. With one out, Encarnacion sent a routine fly ball to right that Max Kepler dropped. Back with the club, Yolmer Sanchez pinch-ran at first. McCann singled to put two on. Robert added to his stat sheet with a go-ahead RBI-double that plated Sanchez and got McCann to third, 6–5 Sox. Mazara pulled his biggest hit in a Sox uniform, a RBI-single that scored a pair, 8–5 good guys.
Alex Colomé took over in the bottom half and closed the door to help the Sox claim sole possession of first place in the American League Central. Be sure to listen to the latest episode of the Sox On Tap Podcast wherever you find your favorite shows to hear reactions and analysis from this nail-biter at Target Field. Game two of this three-game set is tomorrow night at 7:10 p.m. CDT. Dallas Keuchel is on the bump for the White Sox and making his first start of 2020, Michael Pineda is on the bump for the Twins.