CHICAGO — The White Sox returned to Chicago after their eight-day, eight-game road trip to face the first team of that most recent trip: The Minnesota Twins, who the Sox have dominated in 2020, winning the first five of six games so far.
Reynaldo López opened the game with a 1-2-3 inning, which included two strikeouts. In the second inning, he struck out one more batter, but Max Kepler sent a 1-2 pitch out to right field to give the Twins an early 1-0 lead.
Luckily, in the bottom of the second, the Good Guys tied the game. Edwin Encarnación walked, and the hot-streaking Tim Anderson recorded an infield hit in the fifth spot in the lineup. Zack Collins proceeded to barely miss a home run, but EE was able to advance to third on the big fly. Yasiel Puig tallied an infield single, which scored Encarnación and tied the game, 1-1.
The Sox struck again in the following inning. Leury García led off the inning, but similar to Collins, his long fly ball just fell short of being a scoring tally. Luckily, Yoán Moncada bailed Leury Legend out. YoYo took a 2-0 pitch deep and recorded an oppo-taco! This no-doubter gave the Sox a 2-1 lead.
The middle innings found the offenses quiet, as the pitchers were dealing. ReyLo did hit Kepler with two outs in the fourth — possibly on purpose.
The Twins came close to scoring again in the sixth. Nelson Cruz was hit by a pitch — López's second of the game — and Kepler and Rosario followed with back-to-back, full-count walks. However, ReyLo escaped the jam.
The Twins found their stride in the top of the seventh, however. Reynaldo hit Jake Cave to lead off the seventh, so Evan Marshall came on in relief. Back-to-back singles loaded the bases, and Luis Arráez knocked a bases-clearing double to give the Twins a 4-2 lead.
As per usual, the Sox fired back during the bottom part of the inning. With one out and a full count, Zack Collins demolished a baseball 444 feet to right field to bring the Sox within one run, 4-3.
One out in the bottom of the eighth, YoYo smashed his second home run of the game 421 feet to left field. This tied the game 4-4, and the game stayed tied a little while longer.
In extra innings, Eloy Jiménez tripled (!) to right-center field with two outs. Unfortunately, EE grounded out on a 3-1 pitch, a favorable count for an accomplished hitter.
Steve Cishek pitched the 11th inning. With two outs and two runners on the basepaths, Eloy ended the inning with a spectacular catch at the expense of Marwin González. Luckily for the Twins, Eddie Rosario hit a leadoff home run in the 12th to give them a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the 12th, the Good Guys needed one to tie and two to walk it off. Puig started the inning with a left-field, warning-track fly out. Nick Madrigal copied Puig for the second out of the inning. Larry Legend hit a two-out single to right, and a wild pitch put him on second. But with more than 39,000 on their feet, Moncada struck out to end the game.
The Twins took the series opener, 5-4. Chicago falls to 29-28 overall. They sit eight games behind the Twins for first place in the AL Central and 2 ½ out of the second wild card.
The Good Guys look to even the series in tomorrow afternoon's ballgame. This was supposed to be the Tim Anderson "Stick Talk" bobblehead giveaway — and more importantly, tomorrow was the scheduled South Side Hit Pen meet-up! Although it won't happen tomorrow, I am hopeful for the future!