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At one point tonight, back when the Twins had only scored four unanswered runs instead of 10, the White Sox appeared to have wasted a golden opportunity to retake control of the game.
The Sox were trailing 5-4 in the fourth when Jose Abreu came up to the plate after consecutive one-out singles by Charlie Tilson and Yoan Moncada put runners on the corners. He tried to take Jose Berríos’ first pitch the other way, but he smashed it right at C.J. Cron, who fired to second to start an inning-ending 3-4-3 double play that preserved Minnesota’s lead.
Alas, the way the rest of the evening unfolded, it really didn’t matter. The Twins hit their 99th, 100th and 101st homers against Reynaldo López over 3⅔ innings to show the Sox what they’ve been doing all year.
López walked into a bad matchup in his first game as an extreme flyball pitcher facing such a homer-happy team, and he didn’t help himself. His fastball command was once again subpar, and he got under both his changeup and breaking pitches, which effectively put the ball on a tee for Minnesota. More than half of the balls he allowed in play were hit over 100 mph, and I don’t really care to go back and describe which did what.
It’s more worthwhile to point out that the White Sox offense made Berríos look ordinary. Berríos entered the game 7-1 with a 2.12 ERA in nine career starts against the Sox and both numbers improved, but the Sox tagged him for four runs on nine hits over 6⅔ innings. It just so happened that three of those runs were unearned, as the Sox’ four-run second opened with Eloy Jiménez reaching on a Jorge Polanco throwing error.
Tim Anderson followed with a double that rattled off Marwin Gonzalez, and Yonder Alonso poked a grounder through the wide open left side to score two. One of those runs was unearned, and two more of those came across when Moncada and Abreu delivered RBI singles with two outs.
The White Sox led 4-1 at that point, and the less said about what happened afterward, the better. We’ll save the pertinent details for…
*We talked about it with Lucas Giolito, but López might have the bigger problem with good opponents:
*Anderson went 3-for-3 with a double and two singles, one of which he pulled into left field on a fastball several inches off the inside corner. He was replaced late by Jose Rondón, who made a fantastic leaping drive on one of so many smoked liners.
*Speaking of smoked, Welington Castillo left the game in the eighth inning after taking two direct foul tips to the mask on consecutive pitches. He staggered back on the second one, and the Sox wasted no time removing him from the game and calling on James McCann to finish it out.
*Ryan Cordell had a game to forget, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and breaking the wrong way on a line drive that clanged out of his glove for the Sox’ lone error. The Sox only struck out seven times all game, putting Cordell’s at-bats in starker relief.
*Eloy Jiménez’s daily flail:
*Ryan Burr and Jace Fry allowed all three inherited runners to score between them despite both entering with two outs.
*Thyago Vieira spared the bullpen additional work by closing out the last two innings. For his reward, he was optioned to Charlotte, because the White Sox have to activate Manny Bañuelos from the injured list in order to throw him to the wolves.