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It was Ivan Nova’s turn in trying to tame the Minnesota Twins lineup. A tall task facing a squad who already has hit 15 home runs in five games played at Guaranteed Rate Field this season. Perhaps Nova could find a path to success that Lucas Giolito or Dylan Cease couldn’t after his complete-game performance against Miami earlier this week.
In front of a full crowd, Nova was terrific as he kept the Twins offense at bay, and Yoan Moncada had a big night at the plate as the White Sox won 5-1.
White Sox benefitted from some weak infield defense by the Twins in the second inning. Jose Rondon got the rally started with an infield single as shortstop Jorge Polanco made a nice diving attempt, but the throw was way late to first base. Polanco would follow that up by deflecting Yolmer Sanchez’s grounder to left field that ended up as a single and allowed Rondon to advance to third base.
Hitting much better since arriving back in Chicago, Adam Engel stepped up to the plate ready to drive in the game’s first run. With the infield playing in, Engel hit a hard grounder right at Miguel Sano covering third base. At first, Sano peaked to second thinking about trying to turn the double play, but changed his mind and made a throw to home. Rondon had a late jump and would have been easily out if Sano’s throw was on target, but it wasn’t resulting in a throwing error. Rondon scored, and the White Sox struck first leading 1-0.
Engel would steal second to put runners in scoring position, but Ryan Cordell hit an infield pop up, and Leury Garcia grounded out to Sano ending the inning.
In the next half-inning, the White Sox defense, unfortunately, returned the favor of lousy infield defense leading to a run. Byron Buxton hit a two-out double, his 27th of the season, and would come around to score on Polanco’s high fly ball down the left-field line. Moncada had a beat on it, and while the ball drifted back into fair territory, deflected off his glove into play. Buxton scored tying the game on Moncada’s ugly fielding error.
Moncada would make up for the defensive gaffe by hitting his 20th double to lead off the bottom half. Jose Abreu followed up with a single to left field that Moncada initially went back to second base before advancing to third base. After not testing Buxton’s arm on James McCann’s shallow fly to center, Moncada would score on Welington Castillo’s sacrifice fly to the warning track giving the Sox a 2-1 lead.
Then in the fifth inning, Moncada matched his doubles totals by hitting Martin Perez’s changeup to the center field bleachers for a solo home run, his 20th of the season.
Meanwhile, Nova was on cruise control pitching three consecutive 1-2-3 innings as the Twins could only muster two hits through six innings. Nova finished with a great line of 6 IP 2 H 1 R 0 ER 1 BB 4 K on 88 pitches. In July, Nova made five starts posting a 3.16 ERA with 19 strikeouts to seven walks over 31.1 innings, by far his best month with the White Sox.
Moncada continued his terrific night in the seventh inning by following up Leury Garcia’s double with his second two-bagger of the night making it a 4-1 game. With three more extra-base hits, Moncada is now on a season pace to hit 34 doubles and 32 home runs with 95 RBI.
Evan Marshall gave Renteria 1.1 innings before handing it off to Aaron Bummer to face Max Kepler. On a 3-2 count, Bummer induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the eighth inning. Sanchez and Engel gave the bullpen more cushion by adding another run. Sanchez reached on Jonathan Schoop’s fielding error and hustled to second base. With Trevor May pitching, Sanchez stole third base when no one was paying attention to him. Engel would convert the RISP opportunity with a single to center.
Popular trade target, Alex Colome, replaced Bummer after he walked Jorge Polanco. Colome got Nelson Cruz caught looking at strike three, Rosario flew out to left field, and Garver grounded out to a 5-4 fielders choice ending the game.