MINNESOTA 10, CHICAGO 5 IN CHICAGO
Date: Thursday, August 29.
Batting stars: C. J. Cron was 3-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-second), a double, two runs, and three RBIs. Jonathan Schoop was 3-for-5. Nelson Cruz was 2-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs. Jorge Polanco was 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs. Jake Cave was 2-for-5 with two home runs, his sixth and seventh. Eddie Rosario was 2-for-5.
PItching stars: Jose Berrios struck out eight in six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks. Randy Dobnak pitched three innings, giving up two unearned runs on five hits.
Opposition stars: Jose Abreu was 4-for-5 with two doubles. Eloy Jimenez was 2-for-5. Josh Osich struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk. Jace Fry pitched two perfect innings and struck out one.
The game: The Twins jumped on White Sox starter Dylan Cease right away, opening the game with five consecutive singles. Luis Arraez, Polanco, Cruz, Rosario, and Ehire Adrianza all singled, and after a double play Cron delivered a single. The six singles produced four runs for a 4-0 Twins lead. Singles produced runs again in the second. Schoop singled, Polanco walked, a wild pitch moved the runners up, and Cruz had a two-run single to make it 6-0. In the third the Twins got impatient with singles, as Cave and Cron started the inning with home runs to increase the lead to 8-0.
Meanwhile, Chicago did nothing through the first three innings. They threatened in the fourth. Ryan Goins singled with one out, Abreu walked, and a wild pitch moved them up to second and third. A pair of strikeouts followed, however, and the threat ended. The White Sox did break through in the fifth. Jimenez singled, Matt Skole doubled, and Yolmer Sanchez had an RBI single. With one out, a wild pitch scored a second run, cutting the margin to 8-2. They got one more in the sixth when Abreu doubled, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Jimenez single, making the score 8-3.
It was pretty much over at that point. The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the sixth and managed to score one on a sacrifice fly. Cave homered leading off the seventh to make the score 10-3. Chicago opened the seventh with singles by Sanchez and Adam Engel, but a line out and a double play terminated the inning. They stated the eighth the same way, but a popup, a line out, and a ground out took care of things.
The White Sox did score twice in the ninth, mainly because Polanco temporarily forgot how to play defense. He made two errors, allowing the first two batters of the inning to reach, and only a fine play by Schoop prevented him from making a third. A run scored on that play and Abreu doubled home another run, but that was all Chicago got.
WP: Berrios (11-7). LP: Cease (3-7). S: Dobnak (1).
Notes: Arraez was at third base in place of Miguel Sano. Jake Cave was in center in the continued absence of Byron Buxton. Adrianza was again in right in the absence of Max Kepler.
Arraez is batting .335.
Dobnak's ERA remains at zero in seven major league innings. He also got his first major league save. He has been almost exclusively a starter in the minors, so the only other professional save he has came in 2017 at Elizabethton. His rise is really rather remarkable. He went to Alderson-Broddus College in Phillippi, West Virginia, the only major league player that school has produced. He went undrafted and signed as a free agent with the Twins on July 31, 2017. He made only six starts in the minors that year, five in Elizabethton and one in Cedar Rapids. He was with the Kernels for all of 2018 and had a fine season, going 10-5, 3.14, 1.26 WHIP. In 2019 he made four starts in Fort Myers, where he was almost unhittable, pitched in eleven games (10 starts) in Pensacola, appeared in nine games (7 starts) in Rochester, and here he is in the big leagues. His combined minor league stats for this season are 12-4, 2.07, 0.98 WHIP. He's twenty-four, so while there are not guarantees there's every reason to think he'll continue to improve. A pretty cool story.
Berrios was better, although I don't think we're ready to say he's back yet. He did very well for four innings, then ran into trouble in the fifth and sixth. He also managed to throw (LeBron James voice) not one, not two, not three, but four pitches to the backstop. He did strike out eight, and again he did pitch well for four innings, so I it's progress. Maybe some more time with Wes Johnson will lead to some more improvement next time. We'll see.
It's a little frustrating to have won five in a row and only gained one game in the standings. But on the other hand, think of how the Indians must feel. They've won four of five and lost a game in the standings. The good thing about being in first place is that we don't have to do better than Cleveland from here on out. All we have to do is keep pace with them, and we win.
Record: The Twins are 82-51, in first place in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of Cleveland.
Projected record: We're still on track for 111-51!