After dropping a tight game in the opener, the White Sox (57-37) were looking to get back to their winning ways against the Twins (40-54). The pitching matchup was not in the South Siders’ favor, but they still managed to take the nightcap in dramatic fashion.
In a surprise to many, Reynaldo López started on the mound for the White Sox. Many expected a horrible performance from the flailing righthander, who struggled at Triple-A Charlotte (7.62 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 4.46 xFIP in 39 innings) this year. It was a tough start for López, who gave up a leadoff single to Luis Arráez in the first. Shortly after, López made an errant pickoff attempt to first, and Arráez advanced all the way to third. Josh Donaldson, every White Sox fan’s favorite opposing player, hit a sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.
The White Sox got that run right back in the bottom of the first. That was when José Abreu launched a solo home run to tie it.
With that home run, Abreu is all alone in fourth place on the all-time White Sox home run leaderboard, with 215. Abreu trails only Frank Thomas (448), Paul Konerko (432) and Harold Baines (221), who he will likely pass fairly soon. Carlton Fisk (214) is has moved down to fifth place.
In the top of the second, Mitch Garver made sure that the celebration did not last long, as he launched a solo home run. The good news is that López avoided further damage to give the White Sox a reasonable chance to come back. The final line for López: three innings, two runs (one earned), two hits, one walk, and three strikeouts, which exceeded many fans’ expectations.
The score remained 2-1 until the fifth, when Garver struck again. This time, Matt Foster was the one to give up a home run, and it went 418 feet.
The White Sox went down quietly in the fifth, and their first two hitters were retired in the sixth. It appeared that the Twins lead was safe, as starter José Berríos was quite sharp. However, Yoán Moncada launched his seventh home run of the season to cut the deficit in half.
Aaron Bummer came on to pitch the seventh, and he retired all three batters he faced to keep the White Sox within striking distance.
Then, the bottom of the seventh went like a dream. Brian Goodwin set the table with a leadoff single. Andrew Vaughn was next, and Berríos uncharacteristically hit him with a pitch, so the situation got interesting. Berríos continued to struggle with his control to Gavin Sheets, as a wild pitch allowed both runners to advance a base. Berríos fell behind 3-0 to Sheets, threw a strike — and then threw one final pitch:
Gavin Sheets sends everyone home! pic.twitter.com/ieaEIE5e9M— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 20, 2021
Incredibly, the White Sox rallied against José Berríos and hit a walk-off home run against a starting pitcher for the first time since May 25, 2008. Had the White Sox gone down quietly in the seventh, positive vibes would have been hard to come by among our great community. However, the White Sox found a way to win a game they were not supposed to win, which they have not done very often in the past decade. What a time.
Tomorrow, Jeremy Karll will have your game coverage, while Chrystal O’Keefe will have your Six Pack of Stats. Is more excitement on the way? Tune in to find out.