The White Sox have spent a lot of nights over the years utterly mystified by Kyle Gibson, and Jose Abreu seemed to channel a lot of his frustration into one highly successfully swing.
Abreu’s 443-foot, three-run blast in the third inning put the White Sox ahead after an early hole, and they never trailed the rest of the way. The White Sox executed their way to a couple of runs late, and the bullpen survived.
Abreu’s dinger changed the tenor of this game. Iván Nova barely made it out of the first, but two innings later, it was Gibson who got knocked down. He was on the verge of stranding a pair of one-out singles when Ryan Goins came through with an RBI single that cut Minnesota’s 2-0 lead in half.
Abreu then unloaded on a middle-middle two-seamer, so the Sox went from trailing by two by leading by two over the span of two pitches.
From there, it was a matter of survival. They waited until the second out of the seventh to tack on another run against Gibson, when Yolmer Sánchez successfully executed a two-strike suicide squeeze to cash in Tim Anderson’s leadoff double. Unlike the Angels, the Twins aligned themselves in preparation for the safety squeeze, so Sánchez swung away — literally. He fouled off two pitches out of the zone and barely stayed alive with a foul pop that drifted over the Twins dugout.
Given the lack of convincing swings, Renteria put the bunt sign on, but one where Sánchez only needed to put it into play. He bunted it right back to Gibson, but with Anderson’s speed, he had no chance to flip home, and the Sox led 5-2.
The Twins got the run back when Jorge Polanco lashed an Aaron Bummer fastball out of the park in the bottom of the seventh, but the Sox successfully replaced it with more execution. Ryan Goins led off with an infield single, moved to second when Jon Jay walked, then scored when Eloy Jiménez’s broken-bat grounder found its way up the middle.
Evan Marshall rebounded from his rough outing in Anaheim to throw a 1-2-3 eighth, but Alex Colomé needed the cushion in the ninth. He threw a lot of hittable cutters, and while he and Abreu teamed up for a fantastic 3-1 putout to start the inning, the Twins started converted. Luis Arraez singled with one out, and after Polanco beat out a potential double-play ball, Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario both hit singles to right to make it a 6-4 game, bringing the powerful Miguel Sanó to the plate.
Fortunately for Colomé, Sanó was generous. He swung at a 2-0 pitch out of the zone to give Colomé some footing, then fouled off a cutter over the heart of the plate. Colomé was lucky to get to two strikes, and that’s when he threw a picture-perfect cutter to get the swinging strike three.
The save preserved the win for Nova, who is improbably 9-9 after an awful start to both this season and this game. He fell behind 2-0 after hits to the first three batters, the first of which was a Luis Arraez double on the 10th pitch of the plate appearance. Sánchez stopped the bleeding with a stab on a hot shot to start a 4-6-3 double play.
Nova didn’t record a 1-2-3 inning until the fifth, and he could only get out in the sixth, as he gave up singles around a Marwin Gonzalez strikeout. Leury García didn’t help matters, as he couldn’t pick up the ball cleanly on a first-to-thirding single and allowed the trailing runner to advance 90 feet, taking away the double play.
Jimmy Cordero inherited a tough situation, but the defense helped him out of it. C.J. Cron hit a grounder down the line, and Sanó, the runner on third, went on contact. Goins didn’t have an angle directly to the plate, so he had to throw to the first-base side of the plate. It was quick, but it wasn’t perfect. However, James McCann was able to snare the short hop, kick Sanó’s hand away from the plate and apply the tag for the second out. Cordero then struck out Castro to keep it 4-2.
*García didn’t have his sharpest game in the outfield. Along with the error, he had a couple of late breaks in the outfield.
*Goins broke out of his slump by going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Jon Jay, however, was 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout from the cleanup spot.
*The Twins were 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position, but it felt like a 1-for-15 night. They scored just four runs on 15 hits, even though one was a homer.
*The White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak at Target Field.
Record: 56-68 | Box score | Highlights
Suicide Squeeze on 0-2?
I LIKE BIG BUNTS AND I CANNOT LIE!
I don’t know if Garcia is playing too shallow, or if he’s just VERY slow at reading and reacting to the ball, but there were at least 2 balls that dropped behind him. Bad game in the outfield.
According to Statcast, Leury actually has above average reaction to fly balls. Probably just a bad day at the office.
Kyle Gibson has my vote for off season acquisition. Subtract from the Twins, add to the Sox. that feels right.
I would be ok with Gibson, but I hope they aim higher (Cole, Wheeler). Gibson would be a decent fallback option when Jerry gets easily outbid for the top guys.
It honestly depends on price. I don’t think he’s a game-changing pitcher but he’s been fairly consistent, and healthy, and seems to fit the budget that the Sox are apparently stuck with.