It was the kind of morale-building weekend blowout that fans across Twins Territory know, love, and needed. Minnesota followed up their energizing late-game victory Friday night by putting the hammer down Saturday afternoon, topping Chicago in a 9-2 final.
As so often happens, when Byron Buxton is in the lineup, he makes himself part of the story. Reaching base to lead off the home first, Buck opened the scoring by crossing home on a bases-loaded forceout off the bat of Jorge Polanco.
An inning later, he would double in Ryan Jeffers, and score on Luis Arraez’s second hit of the afternoon. (Luis, to phrase it simply, went nuts at the plate today.)
Two innings later, Byron and Ryan Jeffers would each launch jacks into left-center field, opening up a 5-0 lead on the White Sox, and bringing Byron within a triple of the cycle before half the game had even finished.
It was a staunch reminder of just how different this team operates when Buxton is healthy vs. when he isn’t. Unfortunately, another such reminder went the other way for visiting fans; Eloy Jimenez, who played all of 55 games last season, was carted off in the second inning after aggravating a hamstring while trying to beat out a 5-3 grounder. In a show of solidarity, Buxton gave him a “chin up” nod as the cart drove past center field.
But let’s not forget the red-hot Jeffers, who initiated last night’s rally with a two-out double and saved the tying run with some expert blocking — this afternoon, he homered, doubled, walked, and scored three times.
With 14 hits, it was an overdue offensive performance by a lineup that’s designed to put up big numbers. All the while, Dylan Bundy did his part to keep Minnesota in control, tossing another five shutout innings, and lowering his April ERA to a dazzling 0.59 mark.
The only White Sox runs came on a Jose Abreu homer off Cody Stashak in the sixth inning, and a little mini-rally against Danny Coloumbe in the eighth. Chicago tallied seven hits on the day, and added another error for posterity.
The Twins added to the score in all but three of their eight offensive innings, and have already made their presence known to the 2022 version of the Chicago White Sox, who have now dropped six in a row. With the series in hand, they’ll go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon.
CF Byron Buxton (4-for-4, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI)
3B Luis Arraez (4-for-5, 3 RBI)
C Ryan Jeffers (2-for-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, BB)
SP Dylan Bundy (5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K)
Are you nuts?
ROBOT ROLL CALL:
Only one robot here — the drone that caused yet another Target Field drone delay in the late innings.