The last time the White Sox learned on Reynaldo López on short notice, he and Jimmy Lambert teamed up for six innings of one-run ball, after which Brian Goodwin delivered a walk-off homer to steal a win against Cleveland.
This time, López pitched the first three innings as the White Sox made a late tweak to their rotation due to Carlos Rodón’s injury. He once again covered half of a six-inning, one-run effort, with Garrett Crochet pitching the next two and José Ruiz the sixth.
Unfortunately, there were no such heroics on the other side of the ball. A lineup without Tim Anderson, Yoán Moncada and Luis Robert looked the part, shut down by Bailey Ober, Caleb Thielbar and two former White Sox relievers in the season finale between the two teams.
With one out in the sixth, Jorge Polanco blasted the first pitch he saw from Ruiz over the fence in left center for the game’s only run. It wasn’t a bad pitch — 95 mph, up and away — but Polanco’s swing directed it where it needed to go.
The White Sox offense couldn’t provide a counterpunch. They tallied six hits and three walks, but all of them were worth only one base. The Sox only had two innings with multiple baserunners, and Andrew Vaughn struck out to strand runners in both of them.
Vaughn could not pick up Ober’s fastballs, swinging through six fastball, four of them up and in and out of the zone. He and César Hernández struck out six times between them from the first two spots in the order, and nobody else could set a better tone. Ober racked up 17 whiffs on just 82 pitches, and all of them came on the fastball.
It wasted a strong team effort from the pitching staff, which also allowed just a runner an inning (four hits, four walks), and kept the Twins hitless over five at-bats with runners in scoring position. But Tony La Russa was intent on resting regulars, so much so that Leury García hit for himself with Jake Lamb on first and two outs in the ninth against Alex Colomé, even with Moncada, Anderson and Robert on the bench. He bounced out harmlessly to end the game.
*Even with the series loss, the White Sox finished the season series 13-6 against Minnesota.
*The White Sox had the three hardest-hit balls on the afternoons, but all of them were on the ground.
*Crochet now has three errors on the season, which is a lot for a reliever. This one came on a high pickoff attempt at second base.
*López, conversely, erased a leadoff walk with a pickoff.