Is that ... a winning streak?
The White Sox became the 28th team to reach double-digit wins on Wednesday night, beating the Minnesota Twins, 6-4, for their third consecutive victory. Like the previous two, it wasn’t a clean one by any means, but perhaps unlike the previous two, it was one they unarguably deserved to win, with both pitchers and hitters bearing down and coming through in clutch moments in a way we can only wish we’d seen more of over the last two years.
Luis Robert Jr. started the party early. After a Tim Anderson leadoff walk was followed by an Eloy Jiménez single, Robert snapped his weeks-long homerless streak with a 420-foot blast to deep left-center field for an early 3-0 lead:
That lead didn’t evaporate immediately, but it didn’t last nearly as long as anyone would have liked. Though it only took him 27 pitches to get through the first two innings, Dylan Cease couldn’t take his early momentum any deeper, allowing at least three runners on base in both the third and fourth innings, and letting Byron Buxton into scoring position in the fifth before striking out Trevor Larnach to end the inning and his evening.
In the third, Cease was in position to strand Willi Castro at first base following a leadoff single before another single by Jorge Polanco was immediately followed by back-to-back doubles from Carlos Correa and, you guessed it, Buxton:
A frame later, Cease hung a slider in the wrong place to Nick Gordon, who burned the Sox for his second homer in as many days to tie the game at four:
After Cease departed, Aaron Bummer largely did his job, recording outs via the ground and the whiff before being relieved by Gregory Santos after walking his third batter. That batter, Willi Castro, was caught stealing two pitches later. Santos also was handed the seventh, where he did a nearly pitch-perfect Orlando Hernández impression, keeping the Twins scoreless after loading the bases with a trio of singles to start the inning, the last two of which didn’t leave the infield.
Moments later, Jiménez gave the Sox the lead back, driving in the go-ahead run with a soft liner to left field after Andrew Benintendi reached via bunt single and advanced to scoring position on a hit-by-pitch:
The Sox weren’t done yet. You couldn’t have drawn up a better demonstration of why Billy Hamilton belongs on a big-league roster than the bottom of the eighth inning, when he entered the game as a pinch-runner for Yasmani Grandal after an inning-opening single, Yaz’s third and final hit of the day. It’s simple: After moving into scoring position on a Hanser Alberto sacrifice bunt, Hamilton scored from second base on a weak grounder to the shortstop.
With Hamilton getting a running start, the Twins simply had no chance:
Billy Hamilton brings the good vibes. pic.twitter.com/AQzhEqFZLP— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) May 4, 2023
Now armed with a two-run cushion, Pedro Grifol turned to Keynan Middleton to lock down the ninth inning, and he responded with aplomb, recording his 14th career save (and first since 2021) via three strikeouts, interrupted only by an 11-pitch walk to Jorge Polanco.
With Cleveland’s extra-inning loss to the Yankees, the White Sox are a mere five games back of second place in the AL Central, and eight games behind the Twins, who fell to 17-14.
Tomorrow, the Sox will go for their first sweep since taking three straight from the Tigers last August 12-14. Lucas Giolito searches for his second win of the season, against Pablo López, who has allowed 11 runs combined over his last two starts after an electric run to start the season. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. CT.