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Twins 5, White Sox 3: No-hitter goes sour

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Shields throws 6 ⅓ hitless innings, becomes an afterthought

Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox
Shields Broken: Once the Twins started hitting in the seventh, they didn’t stop.
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Right after the White Sox tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, the defense gave it back in the eighth. Tim Anderson tried to turn a double play but couldn’t grip the ball out of his glove, then flipped it past Jose Rondon, who couldn’t see the ball with Joe Mauer bearing down on him. That put runners at first and third for Max Kepler, who hit a ground ball right at Yolmer Sánchez. Mauer broke for home, and Sanchez hesitated before throwing the ball to first, even though he clearly had a play at the plate. That gave the Twins a 4-3 lead, in what became a surprising back-and-forth affair.

It’s hard to believe I didn’t even mention James Shields in the first paragraph, because it looked like he was going to be the story in this one. Shields danced around the strike zone and used his sharp changeup to keep the Twins off-balance for most of the afternoon. He had a perfect game going until he walked Ehire Adrianza with one out in the sixth, but still took a no-hitter into the seventh.

However, he struggled to get the Twins out the third time through the order. With the White Sox up 2-0 in the seventh, Brian Dozier led off with a walk, and then with one out, Eduardo Escobar got a 1-2 hanging curveball and hit a clean, line-drive single into right-center field to end the no-hitter. The first pitch of the at-bat had the whole plate, but umpire Chad Whitson called it a ball because Escobar spun out of the way, and Shields couldn’t throw a fourth strike.

Eddie Rosario then hit a single to score Dozier and cut the lead to 2-1. After a fly ball advanced the tying run to third, Shields left the game to a standing ovation, and Luis Avilan promptly allowed both inherited runners to score on a two-run double by Logan Morrison.

That put the Sox down 3-2 and made Shields’s line look a lot worse than it did when the inning started: 6 ⅔ innings, three earned runs on two hits, with two walks and five strikeouts.

Of course, Kyle Gibson was no slouch himself. He had his curveball working all afternoon, and the Sox had to manufacture a couple of runs to get anything off of him. In the third, it was Wild Pitch Offense, as Adam Engel hit a leadoff double, was bunted to third, and scored when Gibson bounced a breaking ball that went through the legs of catcher Bobby Wilson. Then in the sixth, Sánchez hit a soft line drive into the gap and hustled for a double, then scored on a pair of fly balls by Jose Abreu and Matt Davidson.

After the Twins took the lead, the Sox tied the game in the bottom of the seventh on Leury Garcia’s RBI single, but the unearned earned run in the eighth put the Twins back on top, and Eddie Rosario gave them an insurance run with a ninth inning home run to center. Fernando Rodney pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the save.

Game Notes

  • Although defensive miscues burned the Sox in the eighth, a couple solid plays kept Shields’s no-hitter alive in the fourth. Jose Rondon (starting at second in Yoan Moncada’s absence) made a beautiful sliding stop on a high hop, earning a very pronounced cap tip from Shields, and then Sánchez caught a line drive while playing in on the grass.
  • Jose Rondón went 2-for-4 in his first White Sox start, and Bruce Rondon took the loss, so we got zero net Rondóns today.
  • The Sox avoided further damage in the eighth when Nicky Delmonico made a great leaping catch on a fly ball by Escobar near the left field wall. I’m not so sure it was a home run, but Hawk and Wimpy sure thought it was.
  • The first six innings of this game took about 90 minutes. The last three innings also took about 90 minutes.
  • The Sox lose three out of four to the Twins. They fall to 9-23 on the season, and 4-21 against teams other than the Royals.