Just when you think there’s a piece of the Twins that just might be reliable, then, well, it isn’t.
In this case, it was starting pitcher J.A. Happ. Signed to be the Twins’ No. 4 starter, he has been Minnesota’s most reliable starter over the first six weeks of the season. Needless to say, Happ came into the game with a 1.93 ERA. When he departed, that thing had ballooned to a 4.29.
The Twins once again scored first, this time on a Nelson Cruz homer that snuck over the fence in left-center field. But Happ, who had yet to give up more than two runs in a start all season, couldn’t hold the line.
After a Tim Anderson singled, he was erased on a double play and it seemed as though Happ would succeed in doing just that. HOwever, Yoan Moncada laced a double to right field before Jose Abreu hit a screaming liner to the center-field wall. It was a ball that Byron Buxton almost certainly would have caught, although it would not have been an easy catch. Alas, Max Kepler went back to the track and appeared to mistime his leap, and the ball clanged off the fence for a rare Abreu triple. Yermin Mercedes followed with a single and it was 2-1 White Sox.
The Twins tried to answer back in the second with a Jorge Polanco and a Kepler walk sandwiched around a Miguel Sano strikeout, but Andrelton Simmons grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The White Sox came right after Happ again in the bottom of the inning. Andrew Vaugh walked, followed by a Billy Hamilton triple. Hamilton scored on a wild pitch, and it was quickly 4-1 Chicago.
The Twins scored again in the third inning in what was still a close game. Luis Arraez led off with a single, followed by a Kyle Garlick double to the gap. Josh Donaldson singled, and two runs scored to pull the visitors within a single run once again. But a Nelson Cruz double-play ball and a Garver ground out ended the inning.
Chicago didn’t score again until the bottom of the fourth inning, but they essentially broke the game open at that point. Grandal walked, followed by Vaughn’s first career home run. Then, Hamilton happened again: a double, stolen base, and run scored on an Anderson single through a drawn-in infield.
At this point, it was 9-3, and it was all but over. The score actually ballooned to 12-3 after a three-run fifth inning from the White Sox, but the Twins outscored Chicago by a 5-1 margin over the final three-plus innings to arrive at the 13-8 final. There were no big blows from the Twins, however, just a series of walks and singles that helped them accumulate their eight runs.
Shaun Anderson made his Twins debut in relief of Happ and gave up four runs over two innings, although only one of them was earned.
The final score of 13-8 may suggest a slugfest, but this game was far more one-sided than one might expect.
- The Twins bullpen was kind of good in this one! Anderson, Tyler Duffey, Alex Colome, and Derek Law combined for 4 2⁄3 innings and only one earned run with seven strikeouts to only five hits and two walks. Silver linings!
- The Twins defense continued to be uneven, with a brutal passed ball by Mitch Garver and the fourth (4th!) error of the season from Andrelton Simmons.
- There isn’t much else to say. The White Sox simply appear to be a superior team to the Twins at this juncture of the season.
- Josh Donaldson: 3-for-5, 3 RBI
- Nelson Cruz: 2-for-5, RBI, HR
- Jorge Polanco: 2-for-5, RBI
- Luis Arraez: 2-for-4, 2 RBI
- J.A. Happ: 3 1⁄3 IP, 9 ER, 3 K, 2 BB
- Miguel Sano: 0-for-4, 2 K