For the second time in a row, the White Sox emerged from their offensive torpor to score seven runs. For the second time in a row, they let their opponent right back into the game. And for the second time in a row, they hung on for the win, which came after what seemed like three days.
This one looked bad at the start, when Lucas Giolito gave up two runs to the Twins on his first four pitches, a Luis Arráez single and Josh Donaldson 111 mph EV rocket to the bullpen. But it turned out that if Giolito was going to have a bad night, Kenta Maeda could do him one worse. Much worse.
Lucas settled down to end up going six innings and a batter and only being charged with one more run, even though he wasn’t missing bats and tallied just one strikeout and one walk. He was helped by some incredibly stupid baserunning by the Twins, including an unbelievable TOOTBLAN by Nelson Cruz, who tried to stretch a single even though the ball was already in Andrew Vaughn’s mitt by the time he hit first base. Maybe those 40-year-old eyes mistook a seagull or hot dog wrapper for the ball, but whatever, he was out by about 70 feet.
Maeda, meanwhile, couldn’t find the plate, or at least the part of the plate that was going to be called for him. He usually walks about one a game, but tonight he’d already walked three after four batters. That let the White Sox make it 2-1 when Bryan Goodwin scored on a Zack Collins dribbler to second.
Which brings us to Gavin Sheets, who led off the second for his first at-bat in the bigs.
That was a solid, opposite field, line-drive single. Sheets would also have an RBI on what should have been a double-play ball but was tipped by Maeda into just a force out, and another RBI on a little pop-up to left that fell in for a double. Nice night, even if beginner’s luck had a hand in it.
The first runner Sheets drove in was José Abreu, whose third-inning at bat featured a 10-minute rain delay at his 2-0 count, during which the tarp was partially unrolled, causing the storm to stop, and a foul pop that should have been caught, all of which led to another Maeda walk (he’d end up with five, for the first time in three years).
Even the sky lit up for that one.
Perhaps inspired by the sky, Yasmani Grandal laid out a beautiful bunt single, which eventually led to Sheets’ RBI, a Leury García RBI single, and a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, the back half of the order struck again, this time on another Collins dribbler that went for a hit — dame fortune really was smiling on the Sox — Vaughn’s second hit of the night off a righty, Sheets’ pop double, a García sac fly and singles by Danny Mendick and Tim Anderson.
Want to see Sheets again? Why not. You only get one first game in the majors.
That should have clinched the game, but after Giolito gave up a double to start the seventh, our HOFBP decided the game was just too much of an easy win, so he brought in Evan Marshall, which meant by the time the seventh was over, it was 7-5.
Ryan Burr had a smooth trip bridging the game to the ninth, when Liam Hendriks decided if Maeda can have a night with no control, so could he. A hit batter, a walk, a couple of wild pitches and a grounder later, it was 7-6 with a man on third. But then Hendriks decided that was enough excitement, and got Alex Kirilloff to fly to center to end the game.
That makes the White Sox 6-1 against the Twins for the season and 2 1⁄2 games ahead of Cleveland, who were rained out. Game two of what is now a three-game series will be at 7:10 p.m. tomorrow, with Dylan Cease tossing for the Sox.