This game had the makings of a long night, and not just because of the rain delay that set the game back 36 minutes. You had:
- Dylan Covey going from Rule 5 pick to fifth starter, making his MLB debut.
- Kevan Smith making his 2017 debut behind the plate.
- An all-Garcia outfield featuring Leury Garcia in center and Willy Garcia in left, taking the place of Melky Cabrera, who is on paternity leave.
Throw in Matt Davidson striking out in more than half his plate appearances, and this is what a classic rebuilding lineup might look like.
So, of course Covey escaped a couple of ugly situations early to throw 51⁄3 innings of one-run ball, Leury Garcia made a couple of noteworthy plays in center as part of an airtight defensive effort, and Davidson hit the go-ahead homer to right field in the seventh inning. Smith? Well, he caught the whole thing.
The only youthful indiscretions came on the basepaths. Willy Garcia started his career with a double in the second inning, but bit off more than he could chew and was gunned down for the third out trying to get a triple. Leury Garcia couldn’t stay on the bag bolting back to first base on a busted hit-and-run.
Otherwise, this was a rather taut effort -- at least in the run-prevention arena. The Sox were quiet at the plate, but that characteristic isn’t unique to this team.
Covey found himself in deep trouble in the first after a single and a walk, but Tim Anderson dropped a quick first step on Joe Mauer’s shot through the box to start a 6-3 double play. Miguel Sano then popped out to allow Covey to escape his first inning unscathed.
A leadoff double came around to score on Covey in the second inning, but even he managed to strike out Byron Buxton to strand the inning’s second two-batter. He got three fielder’s choices after a leadoff walk in the third, and Anderson made yet another sensational play look easy by snagging Jason Castro’s liner up the middle in the fourth.
But that wasn’t it. In the fifth, Leury Garcia grabbed a soggy Brian Dozier double on the warning track and hit Tyler Saladino, who fired to third in time to deny a one-out triple that could’ve had the go-ahead run 90 feet away from the plate with one out.
And to cap off the support for Covey, Leury Garcia helped strand the one-out walk in the sixth by making a circus catch in center field. It wasn’t the most beautiful of routes, but for an inexperienced center field on wet turf, it could’ve looked worse.
That kept the game tied long enough for Davidson to do his thing. Leading off the seventh, Ryan Pressley tried to get him to swing over a 2-2 slider. Instead, it spun on him, and Davidson crushed it out to right to give the Sox a 2-1 lead.
Zach Putnam and Nate Jones survived a couple of hard-hit balls to center to get the game to David Robertson, and Robertson continued baffling hitters with a curve-heavy approach. A strikeout, strikeout and groundout later, the White Sox were over .500.
*The White Sox were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Jose Abreu hit a chopper to third that was too gentle to turn two, allowing the tying run to cross the plate in the third.
*The Twins played some exceptional defense themselves to keep it that close. Max Kepler made a great diving catch in right, Jorge Polanco made a couple difficult picks at short, Dozier stole a Todd Frazier hit up the middle and Brandon Kintzler started a 1-6-3 in the ninth to keep an insurance run off the board.
*Covey’s final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. It wasn’t pretty, and Buxton was his only strikeout, but everybody should take that 100 times out of 100.
*Avisail Garcia went 2-for-4 with another hard-hit out. He’s hit safely in all nine games.
*Anderson drew his first walk of the season.
*Anderson and Leury Garcia were able to make their great plays in part because of good positioning. The White Sox’ shifts paid off.