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Twice, the White Sox walked the No. 9 hitter José Godoy, even though he fits the third-catcher profile with a .162 average over 40 plate appearances in his 10-year professional career, and even though Byron Buxton loomed on deck at the top of the order.
Twice, the White Sox won their stupid prizes, and now they return home on a seven-game losing streak, including six straight games against divisional opponents.
In the seventh, Aaron Bummer walked Godoy, then gave up an opposite-field homer to Buxton that tied the game at 3.
In the 10th, Liam Hendriks got ahead of Godoy 0-2, walked him, then fell behind Buxton 3-1. Even though first base opened during Buxton’s at-bat due to a wild pitch, Tony La Russa refused the opportunity to load the bases for an actual double-play candidate in Luis Arraez, even though he acknowledged the danger in such a situation back on April 16 when he called for an intentional walk with Hendriks behind 3-1 to Tampa Bay’s Ji-Man Choi.
Instead, Hendriks went after Buxton with a fastball, and the ball ended up behind the second deck, some 469 feet away.
Before Buxton’s blast, Yasmani Grandal tried to be the hero of the 10th inning. He picked up AJ Pollock after a terrible three-pitch strikeout with the Manfred Man on third and one out, lining a single off the right-field wall that gave the Sox a 4-3 lead. He also made a fine juggling catch along the railing of the Minnesota dugout to retire Miguel Sanó on a 3-0 swing that resulted in gift of a first out.
The White Sox scored four runs for the first time, a feat made less impressive that it took 10 innings, and that Tim Anderson spotted the White Sox a run with a solo shot on the first pitch. Over the subsequent 27 outs, they scored two runs on a third-inning single by Andrew Vaughn and a seventh-inning solo shot by Danny Mendick.
The good vibes had a way of dimishing quickly. For instance, while Vaughn’s single scored Anderson, Trevor Larnach made a perfect throw from left field to get José Abreu at the plate for the third out. It was yet another baserunner thrown out at home, although with Leury García coming to the plate, one could defend Joe McEwing for yet another calculated risk blowing up in his face.
In the bottom of that inning, the Twins answered with a run of their own, although they could also call it discouraging. They had the bases loaded with nobody out after a walk and two soft singles, but could only manage a Gio Urshela sac fly before Lucas Giolito found his good stuff and kicked out of the pin with a pair of strikeouts.
After Mendick’s homer, the Sox had no such moral victory, because that’s when Bummer started his inning with the walk to Godoy and the Buxton homer.
Kendall Graveman almost gave away the game before it got to Hendriks, as his leadoff walk moved to third on an errant pickoff throw with one out. He alternated walks and outs in a way that avoided damage, including a diving catch of a Godoy safety squeeze attempt he popped up.
At least Giolito looked like himself. His command took a while to arrive, walking three along with four singles over four innings. Yet his good pitches tended to be great ones. He struck out nine batters thanks to 17 whiffs over 76 pitches, and his execution improved enough to get La Russa to give him a fourth inning. He retired the side in order on 11 pitches, including his third strikeout of Buxton.
Tanner Banks and Reynaldo López picked up where Giolito left off with a scoreless inning apiece, so La Russa had his bullpen set up the way he wanted it with a two-run lead after Mendick’s solo shot. In the end, that just made it hurt more.
*Anderson had an action-packed afternoon, going 2-for-5 with the homer, stolen base and two runs scored.
*Pollock was the opposite, going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, although Urshela robbed him of a single with a spectacular dive and throw from a seated position.
*The White Sox have had six runners cut down at home plate this year.