Nova Stifles Twins’ Offense, Sox Win 6-4

Target Field home of the Minnesota Twins
Target Field home of the Minnesota Twins (By Terry Foote at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link)

Minneapolis, MN-(ENEWSPF)- The White Sox (55-68) headed to Minneapolis Monday to take on the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins (76-48) after dropping three of four in Los Angeles against the Angels.

This is the first of a three-game set at Target Field before heading back home to Chicago on Thursday.

Sox’ starter Ivan Nova (8-9 4.51) gets the ball for the Southsiders. Nova, who has been their best pitcher as of late going 4-0 in his last five starts with a magnificent 0.49 ERA while striking out 17 and walking only six. In that five-game period, opponents are only batting .159 to go along with a .215/.222/.437 against him.

Nova’s counterpart was right-hander Kyle Gibson (11-5 4.28).

The Twins wasted no time getting to Nova. After a pair of leadoff doubles to start the inning and a 1-0 lead, Nelson Cruz drove a single to center to bring another run across the plate and give the Twinkies a 2-0 1st inning lead.

The Sox were in business in the 3rd. Following a pair of one-out singles by Matt Skole and Yolmer Sanchez, Brian Goins singled to left past a diving Jorge Polanco to drive in Skole and cut the Minnesota lead in half, 2-1.

With runners now on 2nd and 3rd and two outs, Jose Abreu hit a three-run monster shot 442-feet into the upper deck in left-center for his 27th round-tripper of the year to put the Sox ahead 4-2.

After the two-run 1st inning, Nova settled down and stifled the high-powered Twins offense by retiring 13 of the next 18 hitters and was lifted in the 6th after going 5 ⅓ innings, allowing two runs on 10 hits, striking out two and walking only one.

The Southsiders added another run in the 7th after Tim Anderson led the frame with a double and advanced to 3rd on a James McCann groundout, Yolmer Sanchez laid down a safety squeeze to score Anderson and increase the Sox’ lead to 5-2.

The pesky Twins wouldn’t go away so easily. In their bottom-half of the 7th. With reliever Aaron Bummer on the hill for the Sox, Jorge Polanco answered back with a solo-homerun of his own to left a few rows over the 377ft mark to make it a 5-3 ballgame.

With runners on 1st and 2nd in the top of the 8th, Eloy Jimenez ripped an RBI-single to center to drive in Goins and put the Sox back ahead by three, 6-3.

In the 9th and Alex Colome on the mound now for the Sox with a save opportunity, the Twins mounted a comeback attempt scoring one run but it wasn’t enough as Colome slammed the door on the Twins for his 24th save of the year.

For Nova, he collects his 9th win of the season and is now 5-0 over his last six starts, compiling a 0.85 ERA with 19 K and only 8 BB.

“The way I was throwing the first two innings, I feel like I didn’t have my best stuff. I was able to go to the sixth and only give up two runs. They had 10 hits. To be able to just give up two runs took a lot of hard work,” said Nova.

Skipper Rick Renteria said, “Nice job for him. He’s been grinding and putting together a nice showing here over the last whatever number of games he’s been throwing. He’s got experience behind him, and he’s been able to execute and get it done.”

Game 2 concludes Tuesday at 7:10 PM with Reynaldo Lopez (7-10 5.29) vs. Michael Pineda (8-5 4.20).

GAME NOTES

  • The win by the Sox was their first at Target Field since August 20 of last year.
  • The Sox are now 44-0 when leading after eight innings.