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Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
Hanser Alberto hammers his first home run for the White Sox.
David Berding/Getty Images

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White Sox 4, Twins 3: Hanser is the answer

South Siders win their first game in the battle for the AL Central

The past two games have been a bit of a reversal of fortunes for the White Sox. The offensive explosion of the first nine Sox games has calmed a bit, and the awful starting and bullpen pitching during that same period has been solid. The only predictable thing about this team early in 2023 is that they’re completely unpredictable.

Dylan Cease pitched well enough today to earn the W despite not having his best stuff. He was masterful in the first frame, striking out the side and totaling six strikeouts for the game. However, he still struggled with the free passes, giving up two walks and hitting two batters. The ace gutted through a 98-pitch outing, giving up only one earned run in five innings, missing out on another quality start.

Things were pretty quiet on both sides of the field until the bottom of the third, when the Twinkies scored an unearned run off of a series of base hits, a hit batsman, and a fielding error by Hanser Alberto on a fielder’s choice.

The Sox joined the scoring action, racking up all four of their runs in the top of the fourth when they put up one run on singles by Andrew Benintendi, Gavin Sheets, and Yasmani Grandal. Then, thankfully, Alberto made up for his earlier gaffe at third by hitting a three-run blast to left-center field.

The South Side bullpen was absolute lights-out and didn’t even resemble the arm barn that really stunk it up last week. Jimmy Lambert, Kendall Graveman, Aaron Bummer, and Reynaldo López combined for four scoreless innings, surrendering only one hit and punching out seven. ReyLo threw major heat, hitting 100 mph multiple times, and earned a four-out save after closing out the ninth.

Chicago’s defense in the previous 10 games had been pretty good, ranking them 12th overall in the league. Today, we got a mixed bag. Elvis Andrus did have two stellar plays in the bottom of the second. However, the third-inning error by Alberto and then two errors by Andrus and Sheets in the bottom of the fifth led to another unearned Minnesota run, for a total of two on the day. Yet the bench duo of Romy González and big man Jake Burger, who made his first-ever career MLB appearance at first base, pulled off a magnificent play in the bottom of the eighth that prevented a potentially big inning by the Twins. Again, the predictability of the unpredictable!

Tim Anderson left the game in the bottom of the sixth with left knee soreness after colliding with Matt Wallner in a run-down play in the bottom of the fourth. He’s receiving some further evaluation.

Finally, the Sox placed Joe Kelly on the 15-day injured list before today’s game. It appears that the injury bug has officially arrived, although this one was unforced, given Kelly admitted he “tweaked his groin” sprinting from the bullpen to the field yesterday during the dust-up in Pittsburgh. Kelly joins Eloy Jiménez, Matt Foster, Garret Crochet, and Liam Hendriks on the IL.

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