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When the Chicago White Sox released their lineup without Jose Abreu, there was some concern. A little of that pregame worry subsided to learn that the X-Rays on Abreu’s ankle were negative, but the inflammation meant he would miss the Twins series. There’s the hope that four days off would allow Abreu to come back 100% for the upcoming New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals series.
Without their leader, the White Sox put up a season-high in runs scored. It featured two big swings from unexpected sources.
The White Sox had a great first inning again off JA Happ, who got beat up for nine runs by the same squad last week. After Tim Anderson singled, Nick Madrigal followed suit with another base hit which was a good sign. Before the game, Madrigal batted just .200 in May and saw his season batting average drop to .270.
After Yoan Moncada walked, the bases were loaded with no outs for Yermin Mercedes. In his two-strike crouch, Mercedes singled to right field to plate two runs. Yasmani Grandal added a sacrifice fly, and the White Sox were up 3-0.
Minnesota scored in the second inning when Mitch Garver and Rob Refsnyder hit back-to-back doubles off Dallas Keuchel. But that run was made up from Madrigal. With a 1-2 count, Happ tried to sneak a 90 mph fastball by Madrigal.
Then magic happened.
With an exit velocity of 99.9 mph, Madrigal’s fly ball traveled 389 feet just enough over the left-field wall for his first career home run. A sweet moment for the White Sox second baseman who has struggled to drum up power in his swing. Watching the replay, Madrigal may not have believed it himself as he was running full speed to second base before realizing he accomplished the feat.
The second big swing came from Danny Mendick. In the fourth inning, Mendick laid down a poor bunt that JA Happ quickly fielded. Billy Hamilton also followed up with a bunt that Happ again made the play. Both of those decisions looked especially odd when Anderson singled, and both Madrigal and Moncada doubled in the next three at-bats, making it a 6-1 White Sox lead.
Mendick came up with the bases loaded in the fifth inning, so a bunt would have been silly. Instead, Derek Law’s slider hung up in the zone and left in a hurry off Mendick’s bat. A 401-foot blast was Mendick’s first grand slam of his career and pushed the game into laugher territory.
Billy Hamilton almost hit a little league inside-the-park home run. Even Leury Garcia had three hits. In the ninth inning, facing Willians Astudillo, Mercedes terminated a high floater for his sixth home run of the season. Seven White Sox hitters had multi-hit games. It was that kind of night.
While the offense rightfully should be the game’s focus, Keuchel had a bounce-back performance. After giving up six earned runs in his last start against the Twins, Keuchel was able to make adjustments getting the Twins hitters to swing and miss more. In seven innings, Keuchel allowed three runs on seven hits but struck out six, which is a new season-high.
The game was 2021 in a nutshell for the White Sox. Receive some lousy injury news and overcome it with outstanding performances from unlikely sources. It’s a good theme to have.
- Danny Mendick’s five RBI game is a single game career-high
- Tim Anderson went 2-for-5 and his season batting average of .331
- Yasmani Grandal went 0-for-0 with a sacrifice fly and four walks.
- Billy Hamilton has six base hits in games started by JA Happ in May. He has no base hits in any other game this month.
- JA Happ only allowed six runs in his first five starts. After back-to-back starts against the White Sox, he gave up 15.
- The White Sox have a +73 run differential.