MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Christian Vázquez drove in the tying run and Michael A. Taylor followed with an RBI single, all in the seventh inning, as the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 on Saturday night.
Jordan Balazovic (1-0) pitched a scoreless seventh inning and earned his first big league victory. Jhoan Duran pitched a scoreless ninth for his 17 save of the season.
Trailing 2-1 with two runners on in the seventh, Vázquez hit what he thought was a go-ahead three-run homer off reliever Gregory Santos. But, the ball hit the top of the left-field wall and was ruled a double, scoring Byron Buxton.
“I had it, but it was so high, it was very high,” Vázquez said. “But yeah, when I hit it, it was a great swing and felt good from the bat.”
Later in the inning, Taylor put the Twins ahead, hitting a sharp single to center after trying unsuccessfully to bunt earlier in the at-bat. His hit four pitches later drove in Kyle Farmer.
Both Twins runs were charged to reliever Keynan Middleton (2-2), who gave up a hit and a walk in a third of an inning.
The White Sox had two on with no outs in the eighth, but couldn’t push across the tying run against reliever Griffin Jax. Yasmani Grandal grounded out to first base, Jake Burger hit a soft liner to first, and pinch-hitter Gavin Sheets struck out swinging, stranding runners on second and third.
“He did a great job in that situation,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of Jax. “And then even Duran at the end of the game, gives up two infield hits and still finds a way to do it. So the perseverance of our pitchers today I think was something I’ll remember from this game.”
Dylan Cease allowed just one run and struck out nine in six innings for Chicago, but didn’t factor into the decision. The White Sox right-hander has earned no-decisions in nine of his last 10 starts.
Twins starter Sonny Gray allowed seven hits and two runs in six innings. He struck out four and allowed one walk.
Carlos Correa reached base four times for Minnesota, including an RBI double in the third.
The Twins have now won seven of nine games since the All-Star break and have maintained their hold on first place in the AL Central.
“It’s just winning baseball,” Gray said. “You play a solid game throughout knowing you are never out of it. That’s just winning baseball. Hopefully we keep going and keep playing the same type.”
Anderson opened the scoring in the top of the third with a steal of home. He took off after Vázquez threw to second base to try to catch Luis Robert Jr. stealing. Robert was safe, and Minnesota didn’t throw home with Anderson stealing.
Robert scored later in the inning on a single by Grandal, giving the White Sox a 2-0 lead.
“We had good at-bats, we put ourselves into scoring position,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “We did some good things, except win a game. And at this level, the bottom line is to win baseball games.”
Saturday's first pitch was delayed 31 minutes due to weather.
White Sox: LHP Garrett Crochet, Chicago’s first-round pick in 2020, had his rehab assignment shut down due to shoulder soreness. “I don’t think it’s anything serious," Grifol said. Crochet began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on July 6.
Twins: LHP Caleb Thielbar (oblique) threw a live bullpen session before Saturday’s game. “I thought it was a positive day for Caleb,” Baldelli said.
RHP Lucas Giolito (6-6, 3.96 ERA) takes the mound for Chicago in the series finale Sunday. The White Sox are winless in his two starts against the Twins this year. Minnesota will send RHP Bailey Ober (6-4, 2.74) to the mound. He will face the White Sox for the first time this season.
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