EditorsNote: Subbed photo; minor fixes, tightening throughout
Max Kepler and Nelson Cruz homered and Michael Pineda pitched seven strong innings to lift the visiting Minnesota Twins to a 6-2 victory against the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Pineda limited the White Sox to two runs on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts, keeping Chicago’s bats cold as the club lost its fourth straight.
Minnesota grabbed early control of the game with a five-run second-inning against White Sox rookie right-hander Dylan Cease. Byron Buxton’s RBI sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single by Cruz bookended the scoring between Kepler’s three-run home run.
Kepler’s club-leading 27th homer of the season was the team’s 200th of 2019 and came in Minnesota’s 103rd game. With the blast, the Twins became the fastest team in major league history to reach 200 home runs, eclipsing the 2005 Texas Rangers, who hit their 200th and 201st home runs in the team’s 122nd game.
Ten Twins have at least 10 home runs this season.
Chicago responded with Adam Engel’s two-run homer in the third inning against Pineda (7-5) that closed the gap to 5-2.
The next two batters reached ahead of No. 3 hitter Jose Abreu with none out, but Abreu grounded into a double play, and Ryan Goins flew out two batters later to end the inning.
Cease (1-3) responded to the Twins’ big second inning by retiring nine in a row. He allowed five runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He has yielded at least three runs in each of his four career starts, and his ERA is 6.86.
Cruz, who went 3-for-4, provided an insurance run with a solo shot in the seventh, his 26th of the season. It was Cruz’s seventh home run in five games and his ninth in his past 10 games. Miguel Sano was 2-for-4.
Leury Garcia and Jon Jay had two hits apiece for Chicago.
—Field Level Media