Astudillo sparks Twins in win over White Sox
Willians Astudillo hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning off Dallas Keuchel, and the Minnesota Twins held on for a 4-3 victory to stop a four-game winning streak for the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
Rookie starter Griffin Jax (3-1) gave the Twins a career-high six innings, after falling behind 3-2 on consecutive homers by Adam Engel and José Abreu in the third.
Jax, the first Air Force Academy graduate to appear in the major leagues, struck out a career-best 10 batters with only one walk. The White Sox have homered in a season-most 12 straight games.
Keuchel (7-6) gave up four runs in six innings with only one strikeout and is just 1-4 with a 5.72 ERA and 10 homers allowed in his last seven turns. The left-hander walked four in six innings. Three of those runners scored, including Miguel Sanó before Astudillo — the burly utilityman nicknamed “La Tortuga” — dropped to one knee and muscled a 1-0 pitch into the left-field bleachers.
Astudillo, playing third base for Josh Donaldson, later caught a line drive smashed by Abreu and whipped a throw to first base to double up Tim Anderson and end the eighth as he skipped off the field with his infectious enthusiasm.
Luis Arraez had an RBI single and Alex Colome pitched the ninth for his sixth save for the Twins, who improved to 5-13 against the AL Central leaders this year. They have been outscored 123-70 by the White Sox, who are 37-24 against division opponents.
The White Sox (67-47) whiffed in their opportunity to move a season-high 22 games above .500, a mark they haven’t reached since Sept. 13, 2006, but there’s not much for them to worry about with a lead on Cleveland that was at 10 1/2 games at the beginning of the day. Now that they’re nearly fully healthy again, their biggest challenge will be to stay sharp for the next two months in lieu of a pennant race in this division full of renovation projects.
Arraez has hit in 21 of his last 23 games, batting .423 since July 4 for the best average in baseball among players with a minimum of 70 plate appearances.
The Twins, who managed only two hits off White Sox starter Lucas Giolito on Monday, had Donaldson in the lineup for the first time in four games due to a hamstring strain. He was the designated hitter for the eighth time this season and is slated to return to third base on Friday.
The Twins made right-handed reliever Nick Vincent their latest crosstown promotion from Triple-A St. Paul, sending right-hander Beau Burrows back after he was roughed up as the starter in an 11-1 loss Monday. The Twins would be the sixth major league team for the 35-year-old Vincent.
White Sox: CF Luis Robert reported no trouble after his return from a torn hip flexor on Monday following an 85-game absence. He’s slated for a day off on Wednesday.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton, who has missed 42 games because of a broken left pinkie, is in the final stretch of his recovery and “in a good state of mind.” The team has yet to decide whether to send him on a rehab assignment. “If they want me to go, I’ll go. If they don’t, great,” Buxton said.
White Sox: RHP Lance Lynn (10-3, 2.04), the major league ERA leader, takes the mound on Wednesday afternoon. He’s 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in four starts against the Twins this season.
Twins: RHP Bailey Ober (1-1, 4.99) pitches in the series finale. The rookie is 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA in four turns against the White Sox this year.