The White Sox kicked off a critical series with the division rival Twins Friday night, battling to a 4-3 victory. The Sox went unconventional in this one, with Joe Kelly starting the game in an “opener” role. Kelly unfortunately was a bit erratic with his command in this one, putting the Sox in an early 2-0 hole with a first inning where he threw a season-high 34 pitches.
Davis Martin relieved Kelly after the first inning, throwing five clean innings in a game the Sox came into as an underdog with many key players out tonight. Things stood at 2-0 until the Sox finally got to Twins’ starter Sonny Gray in the bottom of the fourth inning. Gray appeared to tweak his hamstring in the bottom of the third inning and didn’t seem quite right when he came back out for the fourth inning. A bloop single and a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded tied things up at two for the South Siders.
Jimmy Lambert ran into some trouble in the eighth inning, giving up a run for the Twins to pull ahead 3-2. That lead was short-lived, as Yasmani Grandal came up with a clutch solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game for the South Siders. Yaz picked a great time for his first home run at Guaranteed Rate Field this season.
A clean top of the ninth inning from Liam Hendriks to preserve the tie set the stage for the Sox offense in the bottom of the ninth inning. After a little dustup following an Andrew Vaughn hit-by-pitch to load the bases and interim manager Miguel Cairo‘s first ejection, Jose Abreu appeared to be hit by another wild pitch from Twins reliever Jorge Lopez to win the game. After the call was reversed, Abreu then hit into a fielder’s-choice on a ball deflected by Lopez to drive in the game-winning run and cap off a wild bottom of the ninth inning.
The win brought the Sox back to .500 at 66-66, and within three games of the division lead following the Guardians’ loss to the Mariners.
W: Liam Hendriks (3-3) | L: Jorge Lopez (4-7)
White Sox Scoring Recap:
Bottom of the 4th: Yasmani Grandal bloop single to left-center field. Andrew Vaughn scores. CWS 1 – MIN 2
Bottom of the 4th: Josh Harrison hit-by-pitch. Yasmani Grandal scores. CWS 2 – MIN 2
Bottom of the 8th: Yasmani Grandal solo home run. CWS 3 – MIN 3
Bottom of the 9th: Jose Abreu hits into fielder’s choice. Romy Gonzalez scores. CWS 4 – MIN 3
Joe Kelly: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Joe Kelly continued to struggle tonight, not performing how the Sox would have hoped in an “opener” role. In his last three appearances, Kelly has a cumulative line of 2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, and 2 K, and has seen his ERA balloon up to 7.45. It’s been a nightmare-ish first season on the South Side for Kelly, marred by injuries and inconsistent performances.
Davis Martin: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Davis Martin continued to thrive in games where he follows an opener on Friday night, throwing five shutout innings against Minnesota. In three games where he followed an opener this season, Martin has a cumulative line of 15.1 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, good for an ERA of 1.17. The blueprint appears to be there for Martin, here’s hoping the Sox continue to put him in a position to succeed.
Yasmani Grandal: 2-4, HR (4), 2 RBI (23)
In a game that felt reminiscent of the second half of the 2021 season, Yasmani Grandal carried the offense in this one, driving in runs in all kinds of ways. He hit a bloop single to drive in Andrew Vaughn in the fourth inning, and then came up with a clutch solo home run to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was Grandal’s first home run at Guaranteed Rate Field this season, and hopefully a sign of things to come for the struggling catcher.
Jose Abreu: 2-5, RBI (62)
Jose Abreu was the hero tonight, walking off the Twins on a fielder’s choice that deflected off Jorge Lopez’s glove. This was after a premature celebration from the Sox after Abreu appeared to be hit in the hand on a pitch from Lopez. Abreu also knocked two singles tonight, bringing his batting average up to .309 in what was another solid night for the Sox’ leader.
The Next Matchup
The White Sox play the Twins again tomorrow night at 6:15 PM CT, in a game that can be seen nationally on FOX.
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