Twins hit 3 homers, slow down White Sox with 5-1 win
CHICAGO - Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano each hit a two-run homer, and the Minnesota Twins denied the Chicago White Sox a chance to clinch their first playoff berth in 12 years with a 5-1 victory Wednesday night.
Eddie Rosario also went deep and Minnesota pitchers retired their final 18 batters against the AL Central leaders. Chicago, which had won six straight and nine of 10, could have secured its first postseason spot since 2008 with a win and a Mariners loss.
Seattle played later against the San Francisco Giants.
After dropping the first two in the four-game series, the second-place Twins moved within two games of Chicago in the division standings.
Minnesota won despite losing starter Jake Odorizzi to a blister in the fourth inning.
“That was a game where we didn’t know which direction it would go. It could have gone several different ways, but ultimately our guys with the way they went out there and played, and pitched especially, got us where we needed to be. It was a very nice night,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Minnesota reliever Cody Stashak (1-0) relieved Odorizzi and was perfect for 2 1/3 innings with two strikeouts.
Tyler Duffey worked the seventh and the eighth with two strikeouts, and Trevor May struck out the side in the ninth to finish the two-hitter.
“It was a colossal effort. Every guy we turned to was fantastic,” Baldelli said.
José Abreu homered in the fourth for the White Sox, who have lost just six times in 28 games.
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“Making the playoffs is expected, so for us, the ultimate goal is to win the World Series straight up. We’ve just got to keep playing the way we know how to play on a daily basis and pick each other up when we need to,” starter Lucas Giolito said.
Twins pitching got 18 consecutive outs after Abreu’s homer.
“A lot of things work out well when you throw strikes and score runs, and we did a great job of that tonight,” Duffy said.
Rosario led off the second with a homer against Giolito (4-3), his 11th of the season.
In the fourth, Rosario opened with a walk and, one out later, Buxton homered on the first pitch to straightaway center field to increase the lead to 3-0. It was his 10th of the season and second in two nights. Buxton hit his third career inside-the-park homer Tuesday.
White Sox reliever Matt Foster issued a leadoff walk in the eighth and then gave up a two-run homer to Sano, his 12th.
Abreu hit his 16th home run in the fourth, a leadoff shot that cut it to 3-1.
Giolito allowed three runs and three hits in six innings. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.37 ERA in four starts since throwing a no-hitter against Pittsburgh on Aug. 25.
“I just need to be more competitive in some of those at-bats. The three walks need to go,” Giolito said.
Odorizzi, reinstated from the injured list before the game, had his outing cut short. The blister appeared to burst and spew blood on his right hand.
Odorizzi began the season on the 10-day IL with a right intercostal strain and returned to the club on Aug. 8. He made three starts in August, going 0-1 while allowing nine runs in 10 innings. He returned to the injured list with a chest contusion after being hit by a line drive on Aug. 21 against the Royals.
The right-hander pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run and two hits. He struck out three and walked one.
“I felt the best I’ve felt this year,” he said. “Got swings and misses, everything I could have wanted. To have something I’ve never had happen to me before, it’s just one more kick to the groin.”
White Sox manager Rick Renteria opted against starting Dallas Keuchel on Thursday in order to line up his rotation for the postseason. Renteria said he’ll throw Keuchel this weekend against the Reds. Keuchel hasn’t pitched since Sept. 6 because of back spasms. Giolito won’t worry if he gets pushed back so Chicago can set its playoff rotation. “For me, I do like having four days of rest. I like being on a normal schedule, but we’ll see how it shakes out. I will be prepared to pitch whether I have four days of rest or seven. I really don’t care,” Giolito said.
Twins: C Alex Avila was also reinstated from the injured list. He missed 10 games with lower back tightness. He hit ninth in the lineup and was 1 for 4. ... To make room for Avila and Odorizzi on the 28-man roster, the Twins optioned INF Travis Blankenhorn and RHP Randy Dobnak to their alternate training site. Dobnak (6-4) allowed four runs and eight hits over 4 1/3 innings in his second straight loss. “It was a very challenging decision with Randy. Randy has been so solid for us throughout. He’s been a guy that has been productive and reliable,” Baldelli said. ... SS Jorge Polanco got the night off. ... INF Marwin Gonzalez was back in the lineup after missing two straight games. He was scratched due to an illness on Monday. He was 1 for 3 with a walk.
Kenta Maeda (5-1, 2.43 ERA) pitches for Minnesota on Thursday night. He beat Cleveland ace Shane Bieber last Friday with seven scoreless innings. Reynaldo Lopez (1-2, 5.52) goes for Chicago.