Even though they are playing out the string, White Sox hitters had to demonstrate a better effort against Minnesota Twins starter Josh Winder than they did against Bailey Ober. Collectively, the White Sox struck out 14 times while producing just two base hits and a walk in a 4-0 loss. Surely, as professional baseball players, they could show a little more effort for entertainment’s sake.
It didn’t start great for the White Sox, as Winder struck out two in the first frame but broke through for two runs in the second inning. The trio of Gavin Sheets, AJ Pollock, and Yasmani Grandal hit singles to put the Sox ahead, 1-0. Josh Harrison’s shallow fly almost fell in for another single, but Jake Cave made a nice shoestring catch resulting in a sacrifice fly. Up 2-0, Johnny Cueto had a bit of a cushion.
Unfortunately, one of the best Sox stories in 2022 is running out of gas. Minnesota put up crooked numbers in the second and fourth innings to be ahead 5-2, entering the halfway point. What’s odd was the high amount of strikeouts for Cueto. While the Twins tagged him for seven hits through four innings, Cueto racked up six strikeouts on 58 pitches entering the fifth inning.
The Twins trio of Gio Urshela, Matt Wallner, and Jake Cave gave Cueto fits. Along with Jose Miranda, they strung four consecutive hits to start the second inning, including doubles from Urshela and Wallner. In the fourth inning, on just six pitches, that trio had three straight hits with a ground-rule double for Cave.
While Cueto struggled against those three Twins hitters, the White Sox attempted a rally in the fifth inning. Harrison’s line drive fell safely for a single, and he moved up to second base when Romy Gonzalez took a pitch to the elbow. Both runners didn’t advance after Elvis Andrus flew out to left, and Andrew Vaughn whiffed on a slider away.
Around the same time Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run of the season, Jose Abreu’s grounder found its way through the infield driving in Harrison. Abreu’s 74th RBI in 2022 cut the White Sox deficit to 5-3. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli saw enough from Winder yanking him out of the game for left-handed reliever Caleb Thielbar. That move paid off as Thielbar’s fastball off the inside corner was called strike three on Eloy Jimenez, ending the inning.
In the sixth inning, Cueto faced Urshela, Cave, and Wallner for the third time, and it was more of the same. Urshela singled and watched Cave’s deep fly to right field hit off the overhang. That resulted in a double, putting runners in scoring position. It was the 10th hit allowed by Cueto at that point, and pitching coach Ethan Katz visited the mound as Wallner approached the plate.
Cueto fell behind 3-0, and the White Sox decided to intentionally walk Wallner to load the bases with one out. But Ryan Jeffers flew out to shallow right field that Gavin Sheets was able to keep Urshela at third base. That was the last batter for Cueto as manager Miguel Cairo opted for Jake Diekman to face Mark Contreras.
Urshela, Cave, and Wallner were perfect at the plate against Cueto, going 8-for-8 with four runs scored, four doubles, four RBI, and one walk.
The rest of the Twins lineup against Cueto: 2-for-17 with seven strikeouts.
Baldelli countered Cairo’s move by pinch-hitting Gilberto Celestino. In true Diekman fashion, he walked Celestino pushing the Twins lead to 6-3. In September, Diekman has a monthly ERA of 10.29. That inherited run counted against Cueto, who finished with a line of 5.2 IP 10 H 6 ER 1 7 BB.
The White Sox bottom of the order started another rally in the seventh inning. Once again, both Harrison and Gonzalez reached on singles. When Andrus hit a grounder to Miranda at first base, it had the makings of a double play, but the Twins couldn’t turn it. Reliever Michael Fulmer slipped covering first base and was briefly visited by the Twins training staff.
Fulmer would allow an RBI single to Andrew Vaughn and hit Abreu with a pitch. Now down 6-4 with the bases loaded and just one out, surely Jimenez would deliver a big hit.
In keeping up with the recent times, Jimenez hit a broken bat grounder to short, starting the 6-4-3 double play and ending the seventh inning. The White Sox woes of hitting with bases loaded continue with the American League’s worst slash line of .225/.259/.342.
Minnesota would tack on two more runs off Joe Kelly and Jose Ruiz and, on consecutive nights, beat the White Sox by four runs. The losing streak extends to eight games with little sign of slowing down.
- Jose Abreu and Josh Harrison had multi-hit games.
- The White Sox struck out only 10 times but didn’t draw a walk. In September, the White Sox only have 52 walks, the fewest in MLB.
Record: 76-79 | Box Score