It looked on paper like a pitchers’ duel. Just under four hours and 354 pitches later, we can safely declare that’s not exactly what occurred.
It was Carlos Rodón, who has usually been terrific this season, vs. José Berríos, who has usually owned the White Sox through the years. So much for “usually.”
Rodón blinked first, in the first, giving up a walk to Josh Donaldson, a 106.5 mph rocket by Nelson Cruz that wedged in Yoan Moncada’s mitt for a single, and an error by Moncada on a Ryan Jeffers grounder to load the bases. Fortunately, next up was Miguel Sanó, who is having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad year, but made this his worst day of the season — eventually striking out four times while leaving nine men on base.
And you thought your day was rough.
Rodón was inspired by Sanó to get the next nine Twins (which, as you no doubt noticed, would include Sanó — in his only non-K at-bat of the day).
Meanwhile, the White Sox hammered Berríos. No runs in the first, thanks to a nifty play by Andrelton Simmons on a Yasmani Grandal missile that ended up a double play. One in the second, on a Brian Goodwin 425-footer.
Two more scored in the third, on four singles and a Gavin Sheets sacrifice fly for his fifth RBI in three major league games. The first hit was by Moncada, the second by José Abreu, on which Yoán made a bad head-first slide into third. He stayed in the game to score, but was removed after the inning, leading, among other things, to Andrew Vaughn playing third for the first time in the majors — the first time since high school (maybe), in fact. Moncada has a bruised hand and is almost certain to miss the Detroit series this weekend.
The cruising for Carlos ended in the fifth, when the Twins went double, single, single, bunt single taking advantage of Vaughn, sac fly, single — the last by Nelson Cruz, one of two hits, and an absolutely scorching out, on his 41st birthday.
That put the Twins up, 4-3, and ended Rodón’s day, but an error, Vaughn double and Sheets sac fly tied up in the bottom of the inning and ended Berríos’ outing as well, after 10 Sox hits, two more than he had surrendered in any earlier game, and no Sox K’s.
That turned things over to the bullpens, and while the White Sox pen has been a little shaky, the Twins’ pen is a complete earthquake.
Michael Kopech, fresh off the IL, handled the sixth, Codi Heuer had typical problems in the seventh, walking two before giving way to Garrett Crochet, who loaded ’em up with another walk, but had the good fortune to then face Sanó, who, of course, struck out. Ryan Burr gave up one single in the eighth, and, while Liam Hendriks was again very hittable in the ninth, letting in a run on a double and single, Sanó came in to insure the Sox win.
Minnesota’s bullpen was, as usual, an immediate disaster, with Zack Collins leading off the sixth with a solo shot, followed by Billy Hamilton, who came in to play center after the Moncada injury led to defensive shifting and was batting righty against a righty for the first game ever, getting a double, stealing third and scoring on an Abreu fly. The White Sox got two more in the seventh for insurance, on a Goodwin walk, Vaughn single, and Danny Mendick RBI single.
All told, 15 hits, eight runs, and only two strikeouts, neither K coming until the seventh inning. A series sweep of the Twins is usually a big deal, but this year it’s just light housekeeping. Still, 8-1 on the season ain’t bad.
Next up, a nine-game road trip to Detroit, Minnesota and Baltimore, a journey with more cupcakes than Molly’s.