SP: Kenta Maeda 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K (105 pitches, 66 strikes (66%)
Home Runs: Edouard Julien (13), Royce Lewis (13), Kyle Farmer
Top 3 WPA: Kenta Maeda (.341), Edouard Julien (.87), Royce Lewis (.71)
Bottom 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (-.052), Christian Vazquez (-.032), Max Kepler (-.026)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
Rookies Rake Again
Edouard Julien hit a solo home run dead center in the fourth inning. A batter later, Royce Lewis smashed a ball into the left-field bleachers for the second run.
Lewis's home run traveled 426 feet, the longest shot of his young career.
As he rounded the bases with his 426-foot home run, he paid homage to his character from Wednesday night's annual rookie night, Dr. Evil, by putting his pinky to his mouth as he rounded third.
The Twins offense reset again. Alex Kirilloff got a fastball over the plate that went into center field after deflecting off the glove of Lenyn Sosa. Willi Castro followed with a line drive double, moving Kirilloff to third.
With only one out and Wallner sitting on two strikes, Wallner hit a line drive past the infield, and Kirilloff and Castro made it home, adding two more runs to the board to make it 4-0. The fun wasn't over yet. In fear of being left out of the party, Kyle Farmer launched a two-run home run, pushing the score to 6-0.
Kenta Maeda has been consistent throughout the comeback. His last five games have been up and down, and tonight, in the second inning, it took him 19 pitches to get out of the inning, nine of them going to Andrew Vaughn. His third and fourth innings were much smoother and easier to execute, keeping the White Sox off the board.
After the second inning and grimacing through his pitches, Maeda made his third trip to the order almost seamlessly. Strikes were striking, and the defense chased down the grounders and fly balls. Maeda had allowed two base runners in the fifth but kept his scoreless innings alive as a fly-out ended the inning.
With a nice lead, the Twins brought Maeda back out for the seventh inning, but he walked Yoan Moncada, showing some visible frustration thinking a strike did not get called, which returned to haunt: Vaughn caught a slider for a two-run home run to put the White Sox on the board 6-2.
This outing was Maeda's second quality start after the win against the Mets, and he was on fire. While he looked at times unhappy with a pitch or a call, he stayed consistent and focused, had six scoreless innings, and pitched undoubtedly one of his best games of the season.
Josh Winder came in to relieve Maeda in the eighth inning, only allowing one base run and working around Tim Anderson, Andrew Benintendi, and Luis Robert to close out the inning, only throwing 14 pitches.
Baseball is Weird
The ninth inning was the longest, but craziest of the game. Farmer made it to first base on a dropped third strikeout error from catcher Korey Lee during his at-bat.
With two outs, Polanco grounded to Anderson at short but hustled down the line to make a close play. Initially, Polanco was punched out, but a timely challenge showed that the Twins' switch-hitter was safe by a step.
On the play, Tommy Watkins wheeled Farmer home, a headsy play knowing that the White Sox would likely not have a return throw home.
The game cracked wide open at that point. The White Sox burned through two relievers, which saw a bases-loaded walk from Lewis and a 2-run single from Kirilloff making the score 10-2.
Brent Headrick came out to finish the game for the Twins, and a lead-off double got the White Sox fans thinking there was life left in the game, but Headrick and the defense shut them and the team down, bringing the magic number to eight.
Friday 6:40 pm CDT: RHP Bailey Ober (6-6, 3.67 ERA) vs. RHP Jesse Scholtens (1-8, 4.44 ERA)
Saturday 6:10 pm CDT: RHP Pablo Lopez (10-7, 3.43 ERA) vs. RHP Touki Toussaint (3-7, 5.65 ERA)
Sunday 1:10 pm CDT: RHP Sonny Gray (7-7, 2.96 ERA) vs. RHP Dylan Cease (7-7, 4.87 ERA)
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet