White Sox show some fight in 4-3 win over Twins
Somebody's going to win the AL Central, right?
The Guardians are leading baseball's weakest division, but their offense has disappeared and Cleveland has scored 1 run total while losing three straight games.
The second-place Twins have been streaking up and down, and the third-place White Sox have been a .500 team for five months.
Meeting up in the first of three games at Guaranteed Rate Field Friday night, the Sox and Minnesota both had a chance to gain ground on the Guardians.
It was a real scrap on the South Side, and the Sox emerged with a 4-3 win over the Twins after a near brawl in the bottom of the ninth inning. They are 3 games behind Cleveland.
"Everyone got excited, and that's what happens," acting manager Miguel Cairo said.
With the game tied at three in the ninth, Minnesota reliever Jorge Lopez drilled Andrew Vaughn in the left shoulder to load the bases.
Lopez appeared to say something to Vaughn after he gathered himself and headed to first base, and both teams met near the mound.
The White Sox were much more upset, especially Cairo, Lance Lynn and Yasmani Grandal.
Cairo had words with Twins manager Rocco Baldelli.
"That's a reaction," said Cairo, who was ejected. "I was just protecting my player."
Jose Abreu followed Vaughn with a fielder's choice groundout that scored Romy Gonzalez and the White Sox won their third straight under Cairo, who is filling while manager Tony La Russa is away for medical reasons.
"That's what a playoff atmosphere looks like, right there," Cairo said. "The game should be played like that, hard. Go out and compete."
Trailing 3-2 in the eighth inning, Grandal hit a home run to pull the White Sox into a tie.
Reliever Joe Kelly "opened" for the Sox and gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks in the first inning before Davis Martin came on and pitched 5 scoreless innings.
Before the game the White Sox placed center fielder Luis Robert on the Paternity List and selected Mark Payton's contract from Class AAA Charlotte.
Payton was born in south suburban Orland Park and he graduated from St. Rita High School.
The 30-year-old outfielder was a Sox fan growing up.
"My family is all in Orland, this is a pretty cool moment," Payton said. "This is awesome. It's going to be special, something I've always thought about as a kid. Coming to games here and getting a chance to go out and play here is going to be pretty cool."
After signing a minor-league contract with the White Sox on March 28, Payton played in 104 games with Charlotte and hit .289/.365/.522 with 20 home runs and 77 RBI.
He should make his Sox debut this weekend against the Twins.
"He plays all three outfield positions," Cairo said. "He can swing the bat. He's a good outfielder and he can run, too. We're going to find a way to put him in there in a condition that can help us."