James Shields dug the White Sox in a hole early in the first inning. Still using his sidearm throwing motion which worked to his advantage last week, Shields walked Brian Dozier on four pitches and was behind in the count 3-1 against Joe Mauer. After watching a fastball go by to make the count full, Mauer executed on the very next pitch a hit and run to put runners on the corners with no outs.
To get out of the jam, Shields had to strike out Jorge Polanco. A tall task as Polanco hit four home runs in the five game series last week against the Sox. On a 2-2 pitch, Shields threw Polanco a curve in the dirt which the Twins shortstop whiffed on. With one out, a ground ball from Eddie Rosario could give Shields a scoreless first.
On the very first pitch of the at bat, Rosario hit a chopper back to Shields. A perfect double play grounder. Making it tricky was that Shields was throwing to second on top of the mound, but it would just require a decent throw to get out of the inning.
Instead, Shields didn't follow through on the toss, sailing wide and high to second forcing Tim Anderson to leap and only record one out. The Twins rally continued after a wild pitch moved Rosario to second, and he would later score on Byron Buxton's RBI single. Going from scoreless after one inning to a two-run deficit.
It didn't get much better for Shields who struggled to locate his pitches from his new found arm slot. In the third inning, Polanco got his revenge against Shields hitting his eighth home run of 2017 to make it 3-0. An inning later, Shields walked back-to-back batters, and one would come around to score off Kennys Vargas RBI single making it a four-run hole for the Sox offense.
Twins starter, Ervin Santana, was on a roll early pitching five scoreless innings. Sox finally got to him in the sixth inning after Santana allowed a single to Jose Abreu and was followed up by a RBI double by Avisail Garcia to right field. Down 4-1, the rally would extend a little more after Avi advanced to third on Matt Davidson's ground out and Kevan Smith walked. With runners on the corners for Tyler Saladino, Santana would escape further damage by striking out the DH.
Minnesota would get that run back in the bottom half with Max Kepler doubling and advanced to third on Vargas ground out to Anderson. Former White Sox, Eduardo Escobar would get the job done with a sacrifice fly to push Minnesota ahead 5-1.
Santana started to show signs of slowing down in the seventh. Tim Anderson led off with a double and Adam Engel was hit by a pitch. Both runners would advance 90 feet on Leury Garcia's ground out to first base. Runners in scoring position with one out, Anderson would score on Yolmer Sanchez's sacrifice fly, making it 5-2. That was enough for Twins manager Paul Molitor to go to the bullpen.
Reliever Trevor Hildenberger has a funky delivery that appears difficult to time. Abreu threw his bat at a slider in the dirt that got enough distance to land in no-man's land shallow center field. Engel quickly scored and Abreu hustled to second for his 36th double of 2017. Now down 5-3, Avi had an opportunity to tie the game with a home run but struck out to end the inning.
On the Twins half of the seventh, Jorge "The Pale Hose Punisher" Polanco delivered another blow. This time off reliever Aaron Bummer as Polanco hit another solo home run to make it 6-3. On the season, Polanco only has nine home runs. Seven of those have come against the White Sox this season and six in the past week!
In the ninth inning, Sox started a two-out rally against de facto closer Matt Belisle. After Yolmer Sanchez walked, he advanced to second on defensive indifference. Already 3-for-3 on the night with a walk, Abreu continued his perfect night with a RBI single to make it 6-4. Just like the seventh inning, Avi came to the plate with the tying run and struck out swinging to end the game.
- Abreu's perfect night has increased his batting average to .303 in 2017 and now has 80 RBI on the season.
- Since July 1st, Adam Engel is batting 19-for-143. That's a .133 batting average.
- Ervin Santana is now 14-7 with a 3.27 ERA.
Record: 52-78 | Box Score