CHICAGO -- The Twins, with the help of some timely rain, played spoiler Tuesday night.Three ninth-inning runs boosted Minnesota to a 5-2 win over Chicago at Guaranteed Rate Field, putting a damper on highly regarded White Sox prospect Michael Kopech's MLB debut. Eddie Rosario notched the go-ahead hit, driving in
CHICAGO -- The Twins, with the help of some timely rain, played spoiler Tuesday night.
Three ninth-inning runs boosted Minnesota to a 5-2 win over Chicago at Guaranteed Rate Field, putting a damper on highly regarded White Sox prospect Michael Kopech's MLB debut. Eddie Rosario notched the go-ahead hit, driving in Mitch Garver with two outs in the inning on a bloop single to left-center field.
"I wanted a good pitch to hit," Rosario said. "Line drive. Base hit."
Kopech, baseball's No. 13 prospect per MLB Pipeline, made his Major League debut but only lasted two innings due to a 52-minute rain delay. The Twins made him work, as Kopech needed 52 pitches to get through his two innings.
Rosario, who singled off Kopech in the first inning, said he's excited to see more of him in the future.
"I want to see what he has," Rosario said. "That's another great thing about the base hit, I didn't want to be the first strikeout for this guy."
But the Twins also spoiled what would have been an inspiring comeback win for the White Sox. Yoan Moncada, the player acquired along with Kopech for Chris Sale two winters ago, slugged a solo home run in the seventh to tie the game at 2-2. The home run, while symbolic in nature, ultimately proved moot thanks to Minnesota's ninth-inning rally.
The Twins nearly floundered in the ninth as well when Jake Cave was thrown out at home by Avisail Garcia with one out. Cave, who averages an above-average 27.8 feet per second sprint speed per Statcast™, appeared likely to score on the play, but Garcia made a perfect one-hop throw.
"We had to grind to find a way to score," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You're kind of thinking that might have been your chance, but we still got a couple of big hits after that with Rosie and Polanco. So you take 'em."
Jose Berrios pitched well despite sitting through the delay in the second inning. He appeared unfazed by the long break, pitching five innings of one-run ball while giving up just four hits and striking out four.
"When we came in here for the rain delay, I kept moving to stay warm," Berrios said. "I didn't really play catch. Just move around, stretch myself, roll out my arm. When he figured out what time we were going to start, I went into my routine: play catch and then go to the mound."
"Give Jose a lot of credit, we were right on the edge there of putting him back out there, just concerned about how much time went by," Molitor said. "You can stretch it to close to an hour, but then you're getting real close … you just worry about a guy, especially a young guy. That's why we limited him to five innings."
Over his last two starts, Berrios had struggled getting deep into games. He'd pitched a combined 7 2/3 innings against the Indians and Pirates, allowing eight runs (seven earned) and threw 183 pitches during those starts.
Berrios hurled 81 pitches Tuesday night, his fewest since a 78-pitch, 4 1/3-inning start June 29 against the Cubs, but gave up one run or fewer for the first time in almost a month.
"A little bit of craziness that took place out there, the rundown, a couple of them actually," Molitor said. "You hate to see those kind of things, but we overcame them and found a way to win."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The ol' college try: The Twins scored an unorthodox run in the fourth inning thanks to heads-up baserunning by Robbie Grossman. With Jeanmar Gomez pitching, Grossman intentionally got into a rundown after getting picked off first base. Cave, who was on third, waited for a few throws, and then darted home after the White Sox took their eyes off him. Cave scored easily, putting the Twins up 2-1 at the time.
Crazy eights: Minnesota got off to an inauspicious start in the eighth inning when speedster Adam Engel led off for Chicago with a single. Trevor May had Engel picked off, but Engel made it to second base after a throwing error from Joe Mauer. Then, as Tim Anderson laid down a sacrifice bunt, May stumbled fielding the ball and threw wide of first, allowing Anderson to reach safely.
Anderson got himself into a rundown to try to allow Engel to score, but then Engel was caught between third and home. Ultimately, Engel was tagged out and Anderson ended up on third with one out. May then struck out Yolmer Sanchez and Matt Davidson swinging, walking off the mound shouting "Yes!" and pumping his fists.
"We actually executed fairly well," Molitor said. "Sometimes the guys do a good job of staying in there long enough, we end up getting two guys at third and at least we got an out. And then May made it count by getting a couple of strikeouts."
HE SAID IT
"There was a lot of energy here. Obviously the Sox fans are very well aware of this guy, and put him being part of the future. I thought he handled it pretty well. He's got three good pitches that we saw, got his strikeouts, all those things. Pitched out of jam right out of the gate, got the pop up and strikeout on [Miguel Sano] there, and [Max Kepler] on the fly ball, so we missed an opportunity, and he came back out and was real solid in the second too. So kind of like our guys that have been up here for the first time, I'm sure there was a little bit of anxiousness there, I would at least imagine that, but I thought he handled it pretty well." -- Molitor, on Kopech's debut.
The Twins wrap up their road trip to Chicago on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. CT, sending Kyle Gibson (7-9, 3.51 ERA) to the mound. Gibson gave up three runs in seven innings last time out against the Tigers. Carlos Rodon (4-3, 2.69) goes for the White Sox.
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.