For nine innings, the script of this game seemed all too familiar.
It was low scoring like so many have been this season. There was a short, yet effective start by a Twins starting pitcher. And the Twins bullpen allowed the opposing team to tie the game.
But then, the 10th inning happened.
In the first two innings of the game, the Twins had five baserunners. None of them scored, however, and the visiting squad grounded into two double-plays in the first two frames.
On the flip side, Twins starting pitcher Dylan Bundy retired six of the first seven batters he faced. The one that reached? A solo home run from Jose Abreu.
The Twins managed to coax a couple more walks over the next couple of minutes, but they didn’t seriously threaten to score against White Sox starter Johnny Cueto until, well, they did. In the top of the fifth, Luis Arraez delivered his second double of the game prior to Byron Buxton walloping a low breaking ball over the wall in left-center field to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli opted to remove Bundy after five innings despite an extremely low pitch count of 58 and six strikeouts compared to just one walk and three hits. Surely, the Twins were worried about Bundy facing the White Sox lineup a third time through, but it seemed to be a quick hook for a team with a struggling bullpen.
Griffin Jax proceeded to pitch a clean bottom of the sixth inning but ran into trouble in the seventh, allowing a double to Abreu (following a pitch that was determined to have not hit the Chicago slugger, even upon review), a hit batter, and a Yoan Moncada single. The game was all knotted up at two when A.J. Pollock clubbed a ball to the deep right-center field gap. Byron Buxton lives there, however, and he ran it down.
Normally, both runners would have a shot at tagging up. Or at least the runner on second would get to third with only one out. Instead, Mondada chugged around second and seemingly scared Adam Engel into not tagging up. Engel was on third without ever having tagged up at second, and Moncada was halfway to third after starting on first base. Gio Urshela tagged Moncada first, and then stepped on second to complete what was apparently the first 8-5 triple play on record, according to Twitter.
Both teams did essentially nothing over the final two innings, as Tyler Duffey and Emilio Pagan were effective enough out of the bullpen.
In the 10th inning, Luis Arraez plated the go-ahead run with his third hit of the game, scoring pinch-runner Gilberto Celestino from second. White Sox reliever Joe Kelly struck out Buxton before collapsing, walking Carlos Correa and Max Kepler. (For some reason, Tony La Russa chose to argue balls and strikes and was ejected during the Kepler at-bat.)
Jorge Polanco hit a sacrifice to deep left field to stretch the lead to 4-2, and Alex Kirilloff shot a base hit into left to score the Twins’ final two runs of the game.
Chicago scored on a pair of singles in the bottom of the 10th, but that was it against Jhoan Duran.
- Luis Arraez was 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and the go-ahead RBI. He’s really, really good.
- Dylan Bundy may be smoke and mirrors but he was great in this one.
- Alex Kiriloff’s resurgence continues with a 2-for-5 and the two big RBIs in the 10th.
- Cleveland dropped a pair to the Detroit Tigers today, so the lead in the AL Central stands at 3.5 games over the Guardians and 5.5 over the White Sox, who are now two games below .500.
- Luis Arraez: 3-for-5, 2 2B, RBI
- Alex Kirilloff: 2-for-5, 2 RBI
- Byron Buxton: 1-for-5, HR, 2 RBI
- Dylan Bundy: 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 6 K 1 BB
- None. Twins win! Twins win!
The Twins play the White Sox at 7:05 p.m. CT again on Tuesday night.