The Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins thanks to some late-inning drama and a pinch-hit appearance from Adam Engel on Monday night.
Dylan Cease and Jose Berrios toed the rubber for their respective clubs and battled through threatening situations before handing things over to their bullpens. In the end, bringing in a lefty would bite the Twins in the eighth.
In the bottom of the first inning with two outs, Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez hit back-to-back singles. Despite the mini threat, Edwin Encarnacion flew out to Max Kepler in right to end the inning.
In the top of the second, LaMonte Wade Jr. began the frame with a double to right-center, but Cease was able to avoid any damage. The collateral of the first two innings amounted to 42 pitches.
In the Sox half of the second, Yoan Moncada led off with a walk. Luis Robert hit a comebacker that Berrios corralled to record an out at first, but Moncada reached second base safely. Nick Madrigal then blooped a two-out two-strike single to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead.
Later in the fifth, Minnesota had two on with nobody out when Josh Donaldson grounded into a double play that left Ehire Adrianza at third. An intentional walk to Nelson Cruz put runners on the corners for Jorge Polanco. Nearing 100 pitches, Cease threw a fastball that Polanco sent into center field to tie the game at 1-1. This forced Ricky Renteria to go to the bullpen and get Codi Heuer, who was able to record the third out.
In the sixth with Heuer still on the mound, Jake Cave led off with a double. Adrianza drew a walk to put two on with one out. This was the seventh walk issued by Sox pitching. Heuer struck out Kepler after the Twins' leadoff man hit one just foul down the right-field line. Donaldson sent a ball up the middle that Anderson was able to keep in the infield, but the Sox shortstop did not record an out on the play. Renteria then came out to replace Heuer with Evan Marshall. With the bases juiced, Marshall struck out Cruz to end the inning and preserve the tie. The score remained 1-1.
Matt Wisler entered the game for the Twins to replace Berrios in the sixth and walked Moncada to begin his appearance. With two strikes on Robert, Wisler balked Moncada to second. However, he was able to retire the next three hitters to strand the eighth runner of the game for the Sox.
After the stretch, Tyler Duffy came in to relieve Wisler. He retired the first two batters on strikeouts before giving up a double to Abreu. The Minnesota hurler then walked Jimenez but then retired Encarnacion on a groundout to short. The score held at 1-1 entering the eighth.
Gio Gonzalez came in for the Sox in top of the eighth inning. After retiring the seven and eight hitters, Gonzalez walked Adrianza. It was the third walk issued to the Twins' nine-hole hitter. The veteran lefty then walked Kepler to put a pair on. Renteria went to the bullpen once again, this time calling on Alex Colome. The Sox closer issued the tenth walk by home pitchers of the night to Donaldson, which loaded the bases. On the first pitch to Cruz, the Twins' slugger grounded out to Anderson up the middle to end the threat.
Taylor Rogers was the new pitcher for Minnesota in the bottom of the eighth. Moncada greeted him with another walk to begin an inning. Robert put together a great at-bat that resulted in another walk to put two on with nobody out. Adam Engel then entered the ballgame to pinch-hit for Nomar Mazara. After bunting the first pitch foul, he pulled back and slashed a ball through the infield to bring home Moncada, making the score 2-1 White Sox.
Madrigal then flew out to advance Robert to third. Anderson followed with a seed off the left-field wall to score another run and make it 3-1 South Siders.
Rogers was then pulled for Jorge Alcala, who struck out Grandal for the second out and did the same to Abreu to end the inning.
Colome remained in the game to lock it down for the Sox. With two outs, Byron Buxton put one over the head of Jimenez. The young left fielder put his hands up to indicate an unplayable ball after it got caught under the wall. Buxton ran all the way home to score, but after review, he had to return to second base as the tying run came to the plate. The Sox closer was able to punch out Jake Cave to end the ballgame.
Despite walking ten batters, the Sox were able to grab the opener of this four-game set by a final score of 3-1. This victory lengthens the Sox division lead to two games over the Twins. Game two of this four-game set is scheduled for Tuesday night at 7:10 PM CT. Dane Dunning will take the mound for the White Sox countered by Randy Dobnak for Minnesota. Be sure to catch what will likely be the best episode of Sox On Tap wherever you find your favorite podcasts.