MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Shutting down the Minnesota Twins’ lineup hasn’t been easy this season. Eight pitchers and a perfect throw from the outfield were necessary for the Chicago White Sox to do it Wednesday night.
Held without a hit until the sixth inning, the Twins managed only three in 3-1 loss that shrunk their AL Central lead.
Minnesota is four games ahead of Cleveland after the Indians beat Detroit 2-1 in 10 innings. The surprising Twins still have a magic number of seven to clinch their first division title since 2010.
“Not all the time are you hitting homers, hitting a lot of base hits, a lot of runs,” said Eddie Rosario, who drove in the lone Minnesota run.
Minnesota has scored 877 runs this season – second-most in the majors to the Yankees’ 896 – and tied with the 1996 squad for most in team history. The Twins also lead the majors with 289 homers and are second in hits (1,454) and batting average (.270).
“We lost the game because we just didn’t have the kind of at-bats that we really needed to have,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Zack Collins homered and Yoan Moncada doubled twice for the White Sox. A trio of Chicago pitchers combined to take a no-hitter into the sixth.
But if not for Adam Engel, Minnesota might have pulled off some late-inning magic for the second straight night. In Tuesday’s 9-8, 12-inning win, the Twins scored in the 11th to tie Chicago and got three runs in the 12th after the White Sox put up two in the top of the inning.
With the White Sox up by one and two outs in the eighth on Wednesday, Rosario hit a ball off the right field wall near the overhang. Trying for a triple, Rosario was thrown out on a laser-like throw from Engel, who’d hustled over from center field to play the carom. Video review upheld the call.
“I think my favorite part of the play is it’s the third out of an inning, tying run at third base,” said Engel, who said it was probably his best play of the year.
Jace Fry (3-4) pitched 1 2/3 innings to get the win for Chicago, which had lost four straight and 16 of 21. Alex Colome earned his 28th save in 30 chances with a perfect ninth.
One night after using six relievers, the White Sox turned to seven after Ivan Nova started on what would normally be his bullpen day. Dylan Covey was scratched Tuesday because of shoulder soreness and could be done for the year.
“We’ve all got to do whatever we got to for the team,” Nova said.
Nova issued two walks and threw a wild pitch in one inning. Fry and Carson Fulmer then combined for four hitless innings before Josh Osich gave up Minnesota’s first hit to Jorge Polanco in the sixth.
Polanco scored on Rosario’s single to make it 2-1, but LaMonte Wade Jr. grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Moncada’s second double of the night – and career high-tying 32nd of the season – put Chicago up 2-0 in the sixth. Eloy Jimenez had an RBI single in the second, and Collins homered in the ninth.
Moncada is batting .462 in his past 16 games, with hits in 14 of them – including 11 multihit performances. He has a home run, nine doubles and nine RBIs in that span.
STRUGGLING TO GET DEEP
Twins starter Jake Odorizzi (14-7) allowed two earned runs and seven hits with nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings but lost for the second time in nine starts.
It was the 13th time in his last 15 starts that Odorizzi failed to go at least six innings. Yet, in his past nine starts, Odorizzi’s ERA is 3.06 and he’s struck out 63 hitters. He’s been dogged by the lack of quick outs.
Entering the game, Odorizzi had thrown the most pitches per batter in the majors (4.23) and pitches per inning in the American League (17.6).
Twins: OF Max Kepler missed his fourth straight game with left shoulder soreness. “The more we can stay away from him in the near term probably the better, but that doesn’t mean he’s still completely out of the order,” Baldelli said.
White Sox: Start a weekend series Friday in Detroit with Dylan Cease (3-7, 6.18 ERA) taking the ball. The right-hander has won two of three September starts.
Twins: Open their final regular-season home series Thursday, with RHP Kyle Gibson (13-7, 4.76) scheduled to start against Kansas City LHP Mike Montgomery (3-9, 4.70).
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