The way this game started, one might have thought to turn it off before feelings could get hurt. But if you stuck it out after Touki Toussaint gave up a run in the top of the first, you know you were rewarded for your effort.
Eloy Jiménez has faced Pablo Lopéz in two games this season. The first time, he went 2-for-3 with a home run. Tonight, Eloy would get López for a two-run shot. The home run would give the White Sox their first lead of the series.
As Eloy was collecting his 17th home run of the season, Gavin Sheets was preparing to collect his 10th. Three batters later, the pseudo-rightfielder made it 5-1.
Pitching did the heavy lifting for both teams after the first inning slip-up. Toussaint finished his day with what can only be described as a bounce-back win. On just three days’ rest, the righthander went five innings, gave up just one run, struck out eight, and only walked one.
After Lopéz’s horrid first inning, he shut the South Siders down over his final four against Chicago this season. In five innings of work, like Touki, López struck out eight batters. Lopéz, however, did not allow any White Sox hitters a free base this evening.
Aaron Bummer almost lived up to his name when he relieved Toussaint of his duties. He walked Carlos Correa to load the bases with two outs, and then, on a full count to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer, Bummer struck him out looking to end the threat and lived to see another day.
With the White Sox, insurance is always needed, and they would need everything they could get tonight. This is why Elvis Andrus got the seventh inning started with a double. Carlos Pérez grounded out to first to get Andrus to third base, and Tim Anderson doubled down the third base line to get the sixth White Sox run in.
Andrew Benintendi wanted in on the good times and plated what would hold up as the winning run with an RBI single into center field to plate Anderson.
The wheels didn’t quite fall off after that, but they worriedly wobbled. This time, it was Gregory Santos’ turn to buckle under the pressure, as his turn in the eighth inning started with back-to-back walks, a single, and a wild pitch. Suddenly, it was 7-2 with nobody out and runners on the corner.
Things did not get better from there. A Correa single plated a third run, Farmer’s ground out allowed for a fourth, and, just because the White Sox were feeling nice, a fielding error brought the Twins within two.
Chicago pitching was now in a save situation and Pedro Grifol entrusted Lane Ramsey to shut things down and bring home the win. The 6´9´´ reliever lasted his three batter minimum and exited the game; enter Tanner Banks with two outs still needed. Another back-to-back walks plated the fateful sixth run ... but never fear, Willi Castro popped out to end the game.
Minnesota’s six-game winning streak against the White Sox has officially been snapped, and I suppose that’s the silver lining to all of this.
Six Pack of Stats
Willi Castro’s ninth inning pop out to end the game rather than plate the tying run amassed a whopping 9.18 LI.
Tanner Banks had an opportunity to blow the save this evening, but instead got the final two outs of the game. His outing had a 5.42 pLI.
Gavin Sheets’ first inning home run wins out tonight with 20.9% WPA.
It’s no surprise Gavin Sheets also wins this category, with 20.2% WPA.
Royce Lewis was not a menace at the plate tonight, but his single in the sixth off of Aaron Bummer was cracked at 109.7 mph.
Donovan Solano provided the first out of the ninth inning tonight on a 48.7 mph ground out.
Andrew Vaughn’s first inning single to extend the inning and allow Sheets to come to the plate had an .050 xBA.
Both Jorge Polanco and Alex Kirilloff had at-bats that ended in outs even though the xBAs were .710.
Two home runs tonight, but only one can be the winner ... and that would be Eloy’s 411-foot home run to left field.
Magic Number: 13
13 total runs scored this evening and 13 strikeouts for White Sox pitching. Feels like it might be tonight’s lucky number.
Who was tonight’s MVP?
This poll is closed
Eloy Jiménez: 1-for-4, R, 2 RBI, HR, K
Gavin Sheets: 1-for-3, R, 3 RBI, HR, 2 K
Touki Toussaint: 5 IP, ER, 8 K, BB
Tim Anderson: 3-for-4, 2 R, RBI
Who was tonight’s Cold Cat?
This poll is closed
Luis Robert Jr.: 0-for-4, 3 K
Gregory Santos: 1 IP, 4 R, 2 BB
Lane Ramsey: 0.1 IP, 2 H, ER