Lucas Giolito didn’t replicate his historic no-hitter Monday night at Target Field, and didn’t even figure in the decision. In fact, he struggled in the 2nd inning, and the defense behind him uncharacteristically committed three errors in the frame. But he battled, and kept the Sox within striking distance to allow the offense to come back, which they did in a big 8-5 win.
Jose Abreu. The veteran first baseman brought the Sox back to level terms with a clutch 2-out, 2-run double in the top of the 6th after the Sox trailed 4-0 early.
Nomar Mazara. In the 9th inning, with runners on 2nd and 3rd, Mazara battled, fouled off a number of pitches before poking a single through the right side to score two big insurance runs to give the Sox some breathing room. It was very refreshing to see the Sox take advantage of Twins RF Max Kepler’s error on Edwin Encarnacion’s lazy fly to right field and barge through that opened door for three runs, and the lead.
Luis Robert. The rookie continues to impress, with a mammoth solo home run to straight away center field. He then added a ground-rule double in the 9th to put the Sox ahead 6-5. His talent has rarely been in doubt, but now his confidence is starting to grow. As he gets more confident, and better, he’s going to be a dominant force for years to come.
Nick Madrigal. Madrigal added another pair of hits in five at-bats, to keep his batting average at .400 on the year. He did commit a rare throwing error, but made up for it at the dish. His confidence at the plate continues to grow, which will make this lineup more difficult to navigate for opposing pitching staffs.
Ricky Renteria. In the bottom of the 8th with two out and no one on, Renteria decided to intentionally walk Nelson Cruz, he of the .452 batting average with 11 HR and 34 RBI against the Sox since joining the Twins before the 2019 season. The move paid off, as Jace Fry struck out Eddie Rosario to end the inning without any runs scoring for Minnesota. If there’s one guy you don’t want beating you in the Minnesota order, it’s Cruz, and Ricky Renteria didn’t give Cruz a chance to do that Monday night.
The bullpen. Aside from Codi Heuer serving up a solo home run in the sixth, the bullpen kept the Twins offense in check and kept the game in reach for the offense to come to life late, which they’ve done so often in 2020. It just adds to the overall confidence among the whole team, as the offense knows the ‘pen can hold the score as is and buy time for the bats to come back when they needed to.
Team defense. The Sox committed three errors in the 2nd inning, allowing the Twins to score three runs, only one of which was earned. Fortunately for the Sox, that occurred early enough in the game that the offense had enough time to come back and win the game. But against a good team like Minnesota, the defense will need to be better, because you can’t give that powerful of an offense extra outs.
September 2020 will begin with the White Sox all by themselves in first place in the AL Central, as they own a full game lead on Cleveland, and are 2 games clear of Minnesota. There’s still plenty of baseball to be played, as 25 games remain on the schedule, but this is a confident bunch coming down the stretch. This could go down as a statement win, coming back from a 4-0 deficit on the road against the pre-season favorite in the middle of a pennant chase.
Pito Patter, Sox fans…