The Twins combined for eight hits and 10 walks, but managed to scratch across just one run. They were 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 15 runners on base. The White Sox, who left 12 men on themselves, but got to Taylor Rogers for two runs in the eighth.
It was early on that a theme developed to Monday night’s game. Stop me when you pick up on that theme.
1st inning: Lead off single, no runs.
2nd inning: Lead off double, no runs.
3rd inning: Lead off double, no runs.
4th inning: Lead off walk, no runs.
Four straight innings with the lead off batter reaching and nothing but a goose egg to show for it. Not exactly the start to a series against the team you are chasing for the division title who has an equally potent lineup to your own.
Berrios shaky, but still shuts down top offense
Meanwhile, Jose Berrios took the mound for the Twins. The results of Berrios’ start weren't bad, but it was the journey to that result that was nerve wracking. The second inning especially caused Twins Territory to worry about where the game was headed.
Berrios was able to get the White Sox to 2 outs relatively well with Yoan Moncada on second base. From there Berrios gave up a bloop single to Nick Madrigal which brought Moncada home to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. From there Berrios gave up a line drive single to Tim Anderson and hit Yasmani Grandal with a pitch to load the bases. Nearly heroically, Berrios induced a grounder off the bat of MVP candidate Jose Abreu to end the inning.
Berrios would make it 5 innings for the Twins. It wasn’t the most dominant of starts for the right-hander, but the results put the Twins in a position to win the game after only allowing one run and issuing one walk. Maybe most impressively, Berrios ended his start with a 1-2-3 5th while facing the White Sox 3-4-5 batters.
The Theme Continues
As the Twins began the top of the 5th inning Ehire Adrianza took a walk. Five innings, five straight times the lead off batter reaches base. This time the Twins fortune would change. While the inning was one that should have netted a few more runs, Jorge Polanco came through with a bloop single that drove in Adrianza to tie the game 1-1.
6th inning, another lead off batter reached. This time it was a Jake Cave double. This time the Twins would eventually load the bases and with 2 outs bring Nelson Cruz to the plate. The exact guy they would want right? Maybe not, this time Cruz would strike out and bring the Twins left on base total to 11 through 6 innings.
Another loss with Rogers on the mound
Taylor Rogers came in to get the bottom of the White Sox lineup out and keep the score tied going into the 9th so the Twins could try to take the lead then. Instead, Rogers opened the inning by walking two batters and eventually giving up a single to Adam Engel through a vacated shortstop position due to a defensive shift to score a White Sox run. Tim Anderson then followed up with a well hit double off the wall to put the White Sox up 3-1.
That caused Rocco Baldelli to come out and pull Rogers from the game in favor of Jorge Alcala. It has been said many times before and I will say it again here. Rogers isn’t exactly getting dominated, but he is missing that shut down ability we became used to so the question has to be asked: What’s next with Rogers?
Tonight may have been set up for a struggle for the Twins from the get go. No Miguel Sano, no Marwin Gonzalez, no Eddie Rosario, and of course still no Luis Arraez. While a lot of firepower was missing, the team still put a lot of guys on base for the bats in the line up to do some damage. Ehire Adrianza alone reached base four times out of the nine hole and came around to score the team’s only run.
The Twins also battled Angel Hernandez behind home plate just as much as they battled the White Sox all night long. And somehow in the top of the 9th they were still in this game. Byron Buxton landed on second base after the most confusing reactions to a ground rule/inside the park on field reaction ever from Eloy Jimenez.
In the end, Jake Cave would strike out and Alex Colome closed out the win for the White Sox. Tough loss to start the series. It will be interesting to see how the team rebounds for the rest of the series.