MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota rookie Matt Wallner drove in a career-high three runs and Gio Urshela and Jake Cave each had three hits as the Twins beat Chicago 7-4 on Wednesday night, sending the White Sox to their eighth straight loss.
Jose Miranda added an RBI double for the Twins, who tied the White Sox for second place in the AL Central at 76-79 after spending the last 19 days in third. Cleveland blew by both of them over the last three weeks to clinch the division with 10 days left on the schedule.
The Guardians have an 11-game lead on the Twins and White Sox, who have been two of baseball’s most disappointing teams this season.
Twins starter Josh Winder, just like teammate Bailey Ober a night earlier, took the mound with an eye toward building off a solid start last week and strengthening his case to be in the 2023 rotation after an injury-ruined season.
After Ober set career highs with 10 strikeouts and 7 1/3 innings in the 4-0 win on Tuesday, Winder didn’t fare quite as well. The rookie right-hander was pulled with two outs in the fifth inning, with a 5-3 lead, after José Abreu’s RBI single. Winder struck out six batters without a walk, and Caleb Thielbar (4-2) got four outs in relief for the victory.
Johnny Cueto (7-10) lost his fourth straight start for the White Sox, lasting 5 2/3 innings with six runs surrendered. He gave up 10 hits, just like Lance Lynn did Tuesday.
After an RBI single by Cave put the Twins on the board in the second, Wallner followed with a two-run double down the right-field line that gave them the lead for good.
After hitting a two-run homer on Tuesday, Wallner – a native of Forest Lake, Minnesota, who was the 39th overall pick in the 2019 draft out Southern Mississippi – drove in a run in a much softer way in the fourth. His roller up the line was scooped by Abreu, but the first baseman hesitated after considering a throw home to try to get the sliding Urshela. Then it was too late to try to tag Wallner, whose RBI single made it 5-2.
Urshela, Cave and Wallner – batting fifth, sixth and seventh – went a combined 8 for 10 with five runs, four RBIs and two walks.
Minnesota’s Luis Arraez went 2 for 5 to creep closer in the batting race with a .3133 average. League leader Aaron Judge went 1 for 4 and is at .3134. He hit his 61st home run for the New York Yankees to tie the AL single-season record. Arraez and Boston’s Xander Bogaerts (.3087) are the only ones with a legitimate chance to prevent Judge from winning the Triple Crown.
White Sox: 3B Yoan Moncada was out with a bone bruise on his right foot, which he was having X-rays on after hitting himself with a foul ball on Tuesday night.
Twins: 2B Jorge Polanco, who has missed the last 30 games with left knee inflammation and had a rehab assignment cut short two weeks ago following further discomfort, will probably be shut down for the remainder of the season, manager Rocco Baldelli said.
White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (10-9, 5.05 ERA) takes the mound on Thursday afternoon. He’s winless in his last five turns.
Twins: RHP Louie Varland (0-2, 5.06 ERA) pitches in the series finale, his fourth career start.