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Twins 8, White Sox 1: The Twins might be back

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Berrios, timely hitting lift Twins in rubber match

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
Jose Berrios struck out eight White Sox over six innings in the win.
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

On a night in which Josh Donaldson returned, it almost felt as though the Minnesota Twins might be back.

On the negative side of the ledger, however, both Max Kepler and Luis Arraez left the game with apparent injuries, the severity of which is still unknown.

After a tidy top of the first inning from Jose Berrios, the Twins loaded the bases on singles from Max Kepler and Donaldson, followed by a walk to Jorge Polanco. But Nelson Cruz struck out and Eddie Rosario bounced into a 4-6-3 double-play that absolutely should have been overturned on review, but it was not. Shortstop Tim Anderson caught the ball after already having lifted his foot off of the bag and then threw to first base. Alas, the play was upheld after a way-too-lengthy review.

At that point, it felt for all the world as though the doldrums that brought us six consecutive losses had returned. But Berrios struck out the side in the top of the second and stranded two runners, and then the Twins struck first on a two-out, solo home run from Jake Cave in the bottom of the frame.

Then, also with two outs in the second, Ryan Jeffers walked and Kepler reached on a Nick Madrigal error before Donaldson stroked a double to the opposite field, extending the Twins’ lead to 3-0. At the end of the play, however, Kepler appeared to pull up limping as he crossed home plate. After the game, the Twins said it was a groin injury.

Before the second inning was over, White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez had been knocked out of the game and the Twins were into Chicago’s questionable bullpen.

The White Sox picked up a run after loading the bases in the top of the third but Berrios limited the damage. In the bottom of the inning, the Twins finally caught a break when Miguel Sano should have been called out on a check-swing, but instead launched a ball off the facing of the terrace level in left field to re-extend the Twins’ lead to 4-1.

As Berrios settled in and became nearly un-hittable, the Twins put up another pair of runs in the fifth inning. Sano rocketed a leadoff double into the left field corner. Then, Arraez grounded the ball to Jose Abreu at first, who caught Sano in a rundown between second and third base. In the process of Sano trying to stay alive and allow Arraez to advance, the White Sox threw the ball away and allowed the Twins’ first baseman to score. Jake Cave followed with an RBI single and the score was 6-1.

After starting the sixth by hitting Abreu with a pitch, Berrios settled down and got out of the inning with only 99 pitches thrown in the game.

The Twins capped the night’s scoring with a Nelson Cruz walk and an Eddie Rosario two-run homer. Later in the inning, Arraez reached on an error by left-fielder Eloy Jimenez but appeared to injure his leg on the swing and was replaced by Ehire Adrianza. It wasn’t immediately clear if his injury was related to the knee that’s caused him to miss some time previously.

The rest of the game featured Jorge Alcala firing high-90s heat over two innings of one-hit ball with two strikeouts and no walks. Also — there was a pitch to Tim Anderson that was clocked at 101 miles per hour by Fox Sports North, so that was fun.

Devin Smeltzer pitched a spotless ninth inning with Jake Cave making a nice catch up against the centerfield wall to seal the game.

Notes

  • This was easily Berrios’ second-best start of the season. Outside of some minor early issues, he had his breaking ball working and the White Sox couldn’t solve him.
  • Sano looked great, crushing a home run to left field, stroking a double high off the wall in right-center. Even the rundown that Sano got himself into by straying too far from second base turned out well because he played the situation perfectly, allowing Arraez to get to second base and forcing a difficult throw from the defense. He also picked a couple of tough throws at first base and made a great diving stop with Alcala on the mound.
  • Donaldson singled in his first plate appearance and drove in two runs with a double in his second at-bat. He struck out in his next three times at the plate and also lost his bat three times while batting.
  • The Twins got through this game without using any of their high-leverage relievers. Trevor May was warming up after Berrios hit the leadoff batter in the sixth but never had to enter the game.
  • The Twins are off on Thursday prior to Friday’s doubleheader against Detroit. Pending the severities of the injuries to Kepler and Arraez, it will be interesting to see if any roster moves are needed, as well as who the 27th man for the doubleheader will be.

Studs

  • Jose Berrios: 6 IP, ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K
  • Jorge Alcala and Devin Smeltzer: 3 IP, H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
  • Josh Donaldson: 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI
  • Miguel Sano: 2-for-5, HR, 2 R
  • Jake Cave: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI

Duds

  • None. Twins Win! Twins Win!