White Sox beat Twins, 4-3, to clinch playoff berth
CHICAGO — It was a key game for the White Sox to clinch and win the series. And it was also a key game for starter Reynaldo López personally, as he attempts to make his way into the organization's good graces.
López got off to an excellent start, striking out two in the first inning and only giving up a solo shot to Byron Buxton on a hanging slider in the second. López also appeared to have gained a tick or two on his fastball again, clocking in at 95-96 mph frequently, with movement, instead of the low-90s he featured earlier in the year.
Twins starter Kenta Maeda matched López, showing off his dizzying arsenal and confounding Sox hitters. Only José Abreu and Edwin Encarnación were able to do anything against Maeda, hitting solo homers.
Byron Buxton continued his Sox-killing ways, homering again in the fifth inning to put the Twins back up, 2-1, for his second multi-home run game of the season — and almost scaled the wall well enough to rob Abreu on his home run.
Josh Donaldson broke the tie in the sixth with a solo home run of his own, getting himself ejected as he found it necessary to kick dirt towards home plate and complain to the umpire on his way out.
Slowly but surely, the White Sox bats came around, with Abreu getting an RBI infield single, and Eloy Jiménez an RBI double to score two off of Sergio Romo and give the Sox a 4-3 lead. The Sox held on, with Codi Heuer and Alex Colomé shutting down the Twins offense, to preserve the lead and clinch the first Sox playoff appearance since 2008.
The Sox won't have long to celebrate, as they travel to Cincinnati for a three-game series beginning tomorrow evening. Jonathan Stiever gets his second major-league start in the opener.