CHICAGO -- Having lost six straight one-run games, including each of their last three contests, the White Sox finally broke through Thursday night.
With two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the ninth, Trayce Thompson hit a walk-off homer for a 6-5 win over the Twins as Chicago stole the opener of a four-game weekend series and snapped that ignominious streak. Thirteen of the White Sox first 29 games have now been decided by one run, with Chicago owning a 4-9 record.
"I've been tinkering with some stuff with [hitting coach Todd Steverson and assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks], and I think just not overthinking, having an attainable goal," Thompson said. "That last at-bat, just looking for a fastball to hit, not trying to do too much with it. I feel like even that 1-0 pitch, I feel like I took a good swing, I feel like I just missed it."
The homer was Thompson's third of the season and third career walk-off home run.
The White Sox fell behind early. Reynaldo Lopez started, and after breezing through two perfect innings on 17 pitches, he labored through the third and fourth, allowing five runs (three earned) and putting Chicago in a 5-1 hole in the middle of the fourth.
"I think that today none of my pitches were working as they were supposed to work," Lopez said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "It was a constant battle for me. I have to battle, I have to grind through it and I'm finding ways to just get an out. It was with all my pitches. Today it wasn't my best stuff and it was a battle."
Lopez induced just two swinging strikes despite averaging 9.4 whiffs per start coming into the game. He threw 83 pitches in 6 2/3 innings, though, by far his most efficient outing of the year.
"They're not always gonna have everything go for them," manager Rick Renteria said, "but even if things aren't going well for them, they've gotta continue to pitch and execute. And I think that's what he ultimately ended up doing the last two, two-and-a-half innings, three innings of work."
But in a rare occurrence, Lopez was backed by his offense Thursday after entering the night averaging 2.08 runs of support per start. The White Sox immediately responded after Lopez's rough fourth inning when Daniel Palka hit his second homer of the season. Chicago tacked on runs in the fifth and sixth to tie the game at 5.
The bullpen then shut the door. Four relievers finished the final 2 1/3 innings without allowing a run.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
In the fourth inning, Lopez issued a four-pitch walk to Eduardo Escobar, and Renteria immediately came out to talk to his young starter. Later, in the seventh, Renteria took a little more time to talk to Lopez on the mound before taking him out of the game. Renteria said those mound visits were spirited, but in a positive manner, so as to promote Lopez's growth as a pitcher.
"He needed to continue to work," Renteria said. "No matter what had happened previous, keep working. You've got a tremendous opportunity to continue to pitch. The game's not over, just keep working."
For the season, Thompson has five hits with the White Sox in 36 at-bats. Three of the five have been home runs.
HE SAID IT
"I'm going to just say it made the end a little bit more exciting." -- Renteria, on Nicky Delmonico getting caught stealing at second base to end the bottom of the eighth inning with Matt Davidson, the team leader in home runs, at the plate
The White Sox continue their series against the division-rival Twins on Friday night at 7:10 CT. Carson Fulmer (2-1, 4.32 ERA) toes the rubber for Chicago, making his second career start against Minnesota. His only other start against the Twins was his first MLB start, last Aug. 21, when he gave up six runs in 1 1/3 innings. Jose Berrios will start for the Twins.