MINNEAPOLIS — – Miguel Sanó was in a deep slump, and a trip to the injured list included work on his timing at the plate.
Looks as if he might be rounding into form now.
Sanó homered three times, Jorge Polanco hit a game-ending RBI single and the Minnesota Twins beat Yermín Mercedes and the Chicago White Sox 5-4 on Tuesday night.
«I don’t want to say something wrong, but I feel good,» Sanó said. «I (am) still working (on) what I’ve been doing. I got my plan. I go out there, try to swing at a good pitch, pitch that I like and try to put the ball in play. That’s what I’ve been doing.»
Mercedes was the center of attention once again, one day after he hit a controversial homer in the ninth inning of Chicago’s 16-4 victory. Twins reliever Tyler Duffey was ejected for throwing behind Mercedes in the seventh, and that seemed to spark the slumping Twins.
Sanó’s two-run drive off Aaron Bummer (0-2) with one out in the eighth tied it at 4. With two out and runners on second and third in the ninth, Polanco singled to right against Liam Hendriks.
The Twins had dropped two in a row, including an ugly 16-4 loss to AL Central-leading Chicago on Monday night. Taylor Rogers (1-2) got three outs for the win.
«That was an awesome win for our whole group,» said manager Rocco Baldelli, who watched the end of the game in the team’s batting cages after he was ejected. «It was a good view from where I’m sitting.»
Jake Lamb and Yasmani Grandal homered for the White Sox, who had won three of four. Lance Lynn pitched six innings of two-run ball.
«I thought everything went pretty smooth besides two pitches to Sanó,» Lynn said. «For the most part, just pitching, changing speeds. It just didn’t work out for us in the end there.»
Mercedes had Minnesota’s attention after he connected Monday night, driving a 3-0 pitch from infielder Willians Astudillo deep to center in the ninth. White Sox manager Tony La Russa said Mercedes made a mistake, and the Hall of Fame skipper apologized to the Twins.
With one out in the seventh Tuesday night and the White Sox up 4-2, Mercedes came to the plate and Duffey threw the first pitch of the at-bat behind the slugger’s legs. Duffey and Baldelli then were ejected by plate umpire Jim Reynolds.
«It wasn’t obvious to me,» La Russa said. «The guy threw a sinker. It didn’t look good. So, I wasn’t that suspicious. I’m suspicious if somebody throws at somebody’s head. Then I’m suspicious. I don’t have a problem with how the Twins handled that.»
Sanó was hitting .111 with two homers in 45 at-bats when he went on the injured list on April 23 with a right hamstring strain. He returned on May 5 and is hitting .243 with four homers in 10 games since then.
«He has the superhuman strength and ability to really change games,» Baldelli said. «There’s not many people that have had a type of ballgame like this. Coming on the heels of some of the games that he’s had, we know that this is part of who he is and what he’s capable of on a regular basis and he just, he continually had great swings.»
Bailey Ober pitched four innings for the Twins in his major league debut after Michael Pineda was scratched with an abscess in his inner thigh. The 6-foot-9 Ober was charged with four runs and five hits.
White Sox: 1B José Abreu missed his second straight game with left ankle inflammation. Chicago hopes he can return on Friday against the New York Yankees.
Twins: Max Kepler returned to the lineup after missing Monday’s game with a hamstring injury. … Baldelli said C Mitch Garver was still sore after taking a foul ball off his right knee in Monday’s game. Garver has a contusion but was available to play. … RHP Kenta Maeda skipped his bullpen session as he deals with groin tightness, but Baldelli said he could still factor into the rotation at some point this week.
RHP Lucas Giolito (2-4, 4.97 ERA) starts the Wednesday afternoon series finale for Chicago, while Minnesota will start RHP Matt Shoemaker (2-4, 6.62 ERA).
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