In an alternate reality, this victory would have been par for the course.
The Minnesota Twins enjoyed a competent start from a starting pitcher, followed by four innings of competent relief. Along the way, the Twins’ offense put together a couple of decent innings en route to seven total runs. Ultimately, the squad cruised to a relatively easy victory.
Of course, this was the exception, and clearly not the rule in 2021.
But the Twins jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Max Kepler banged a home run off the right-field foul pole in the top of the third. The White Sox tied the score in the bottom of the inning with a Tim Anderson double, steal of third, and an Adam Engel groundout. It could have been worse, but Twins starter Michael Pineda was able to induce an inning-ending double-play.
The Twins regained the lead after a Jorge Polcano single, a Nelson Cruz ground-rule double, and a Josh Donaldson rocket up the middle with two outs in the top of the fifth that plated two runs.
Pineda made it through five innings on just 73 pitches in his first performance in three weeks. He gave up only four hits while striking out three batters and allowing one walk.
The Twins scored three runs in the top of the sixth, again with two outs. Andrelton Simmons singled and stole second before Max Kepler walked. Then Polanco crushed a 3-1 fastball into the Twins’ bullpen in right field to extend the Twins’ lead to 6-1.
Chicago managed back-to-back doubles from Yoan Moncada and Andrew Vaughn in the bottom of the eighth to plate a run off of Alex Colome. But that was it, as Caleb Thielbar came in for the ninth inning and gave up a walk, strikeout, and double-play ball to end the game.
The Twins bullpen was able to put together four innings of relief with only one run allowed — it was exactly what the team has been missing all season long, and it was a welcome sight to see one of their better relief performances come against the White Sox.
- This was as close to a normal win as we could expect from this year’s version of the Twins: timely hitting, a couple of homers, solid starting pitching, and great bullpen work. Weird stuff.
- Jorge Polanco is on one lately: 6-for-12 with two home runs, a double, and a walk in the last three games.
- The Twins dodged several bullets in the middle innings. The White Sox knocked into four double-plays on the night, coming in the third, sixth, seventh, and ninth innings.
- Jorge Polanco: 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, BB
- Max Kepler: 2-for-4, HR, RBI, BB
- Michael Pineda: 5 IP, ER, 4 H, 3 K, BB
- None today. Twins win! Twin win!