The beatdown continues, as the Chicago White Sox keep reminding us why they have the best record in the American League, and why we need pitching help yesterday. 9-5 was the final this evening in favor of Chicago, with the game unraveling in an untidy 8th inning.
Minnesota had life tonight — after going down 4-1 early, they crawled back in the latter half of the ballgame. Bailey Ober went five innings tonight, but allowed a big two-out homer to Yoan Moncada in the third, having already watched four baserunners reach in the first inning.
Max Kepler’s 11th homer made it a 2-1 game in the 2nd; Andrelton Simmons had an RBI knock to give the Twins a second run after Chicago had scored their four. Then, in the 6th, Josh Donaldson hit his requisite Guaranteed Rate blast in a losing effort by the team.
This whole thing came down to the 8th inning. With Ryan Burr having spelled Michael Kopech (who had turned in a decent relief outing), the Twins got to work quickly. Donaldson led off with a single, and Jorge Polanco got the green light on 3-1, depositing his 13th homer of the year into the right field seats, and swinging the tally to 5-4 Minnesota.
The only catch — and it was a big catch — was that the White Sox were then allowed to hit in the bottom of the 8th. I’m not sure how we let them get away with this one, but with the benefit of hindsight, I don’t think it was a great idea.
Jorge Alcala began the frame innocently enough, striking out Leury Garcia for the first out of the inning. And then the unraveling began. Back-to-back walks set up pinch-hitter Andrew Vaughn for the game-tying single, made impressively close by a strong through from Gilberto Celestino. 5-5.
With Alcala’s control in question, Baldelli hooked him in favor of Hansel Robles, who was able to get Tim Anderson swinging in a big spot for out number two. And then, pretty much all the gas ran out on the Twinsmobile. Billy Hamilton singled in the go-ahead run, and then Jose Abreu mashed a three-run bomb into left to blow the doors off the barn. 9-5 Sox in the blink of an eye.
Perhaps the most deflating part of the evening was the relief carousel; Rocco went to Danny Coulombe after the Abreu homer, meaning that even with the three-batter minimum, Minnesota needed a trio of relievers to get one out each in the 8th.
Liam Hendriks had little trouble in the 9th, and the game ended on a reviewed groundout to first.
Like I said in the pregame, we will be leaving Chicago for good tomorrow, and if we’re smart, we might not let them into Target Field.
3B Josh Donaldson (2-for-5, 2 R, HR, RBI)
RF Max Kepler (2-for-4, R, RBI, HR, SB)
DH Nelson Cruz (0-for-4, BB, 2 K, 6 LOB)
Sort of everybody in the pitching ledger outside of Danny Coulombe?
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