Right-hander Dylan Cease will try for his fourth victory in five decisions on Wednesday night as the first-place Chicago White Sox look to continue their dominance in the American League Central against the visiting Minnesota Twins.
Chicago held on to win the series opener, 7-6, on Tuesday night to improve to 6-1 this season against the two-time defending AL Central champion Twins.
Minnesota jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning Tuesday on a two-run homer by Josh Donaldson off Lucas Giolito, who bounced back to claim his sixth victory of the season by holding the Twins to three runs on six hits over six-plus innings.
Donaldson, who earlier this season said he kept a book on pitchers who were using illegal sticky substances to spin the ball, rubbed his hands together and yelled “no sticky stuff” as he crossed home plate and jogged into the dugout.
Giolito said he wasn’t aware of what Donaldson did “until after the fact.” However, that didn’t keep him from unloading on the 2015 AL Most Valuable Player in a postgame interview.
“He’s a (bleeping) pest,” Giolito said. “It’s kind of a classless move. If you’re going to talk (crap), talk (crap) to my face. Don’t go across home plate and do all that. Just come to me.
“We won,” Giolito added. “The W’s next to my name. They’re in last place.”
Actually, the Twins are a half-game ahead of last-place Kansas City in the Central.
Minnesota media members were told that Donaldson would be available to speak before Wednesday’s game, but he was unavailable after Tuesday’s contest.
Before Giolito’s postgame comments, the main focus was on the major-league debut of White Sox right fielder Gavin Sheets, who went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
Sheets, the son of former big-league outfielder Larry Sheets, was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte before Tuesday’s game to help settle Chicago’s injury-ravaged outfield. He became the first White Sox player with multiple hits and RBIs in his MLB debut since Craig Wilson in 1998.
“To see the smile on his face and the joy he brought to his teammates, it was a special day,” Chicago manager Tony La Russa said.
“It’s special (to be in a big-league uniform), to say the least,” said Sheets, a second-round pick out of Wake Forest in 2017. “It’s exciting. A lot of hard work has gone into this, but to be here playing for a first-place team is what it’s all about. … What a night!”
Cease (6-3, 3.81 ERA) is 0-2 with a 9.18 ERA in four career starts against Minnesota. He’ll be opposed by 6-foot-9 right-hander Bailey Ober (0-0, 4.64), who will make just his sixth career major-league start but his second against the White Sox.
Ober allowed four runs on five hits in four innings while walking one and striking four in his big-league debut on May 18 vs. Chicago at Target Field in Minneapolis, a game the Twins won 5-4.
The Twins rallied from a 7-2 deficit in Tuesday’s series opener and had the tying run on third base with two outs in the ninth, but White Sox closer Liam Hendriks got Alex Kirilloff to fly out to center to notch his 21st save.
“It’s not what we’re looking for,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said of the comeback. “We’re looking to win this ballgame right here, but I can’t deny the determination (they played with).”
–Field Level Media