There is something special about the 2021 White Sox.
This was evident ahead of their 16-4 win over the Twins on Monday night at Target Field, with seven of nine starters producing multiple hits. This was clear before Nick Madrigal launched his first career homer in third and Danny Mendick followed two innings later with his first career Grand Slam.
But Monday’s dominance strengthened the point for the shorthanded South Siders. They set their season highs with their point totals and 18 hits.
“Today we set up a little clinic in terms of hitting,” said Mendick, who had a career-high five RBIs.
“People always say hitting is contagious,” Madrigal added. “We were in a very good rhythm tonight. I hope we will continue. It was very fun. ”
Not so much fun for Minnesota starting pitcher JA Happ (2-2), who needed 37 pitches to get through a White Sox three-run first inning. The left-hander made 22 shots without recording an out, as Chicago improved to 23-2 over the past two seasons against a left-handed starter.
Fun was largely absent for the lethargic, last-place Twins (13-26), who went from a preseason co-favorite to two-time reigning Central American League champion in 11 games and half of the first place just six weeks after the season. The White Sox (25-15) hold a 4-0 head-to-head advantage over Minnesota this year, edging the Twins, 42-17.
Manager Tony La Russa’s crew set baseball’s best record and opened the biggest lead for the top team in any division – despite one major injury that piled up one after another. José Abreu was the last standout to be sidelined, with the White Sox announcing their first baseman and leader will miss Minnesota’s entire series due to left ankle inflammation suffered while slipping at home with the race victorious Sunday against the Royals.
The opening win of the series was achieved with Abreu in mind, if not on the pitch contributing.
“When a guy is in pain like this, everyone wants to stand up,” Mendick said. “So if your name is in the lineup you want to play for the guy. He is the best. ”
“It wasn’t a competitive game from the start, so it’s almost like you find a way to – one, try to always win the game and get through it,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But then you get to a point where you have to go through a game and find a way out and through innings and things like that.
Madrigal’s home run came in his 245th career field goal appearance, as he completed a triple short of hitting for the cycle. Its 389-foot ride to the center-left field, with an exit speed of 99.9 mph, according to Statcast, sparked a boisterous celebration in the visitors’ dugout canoe.
Until he reached third place and saw the celebration begin, Madrigal managed to keep it together. It was hard for him to contain a big smile, even though he didn’t see the home run as something he had to prove.
“If I haven’t hit one for the rest of the year, I feel like I continue to contribute to the team in different ways,” said Madrigal. “But I mean, it’s good to have at least one. ”
Center fielder Luis Robert (right hip flexor tear) and left fielder Eloy Jiménez (surgery to repair the ruptured left pectoral tendon) are already out of service. But the Next Man’s state of mind continues to do wonders for the White Sox.
Chicago rose to 9-2 in 13 straight games against the Royals and Twins, building on a resilience and cohesion formed as early as 2020 when this team experienced playoff baseball together.
“Once you hit that kind of first hill, that’s when you really believe in each other,” White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel said. allowing three runs in seven innings and fanning six. “First on yourself, then on each other, then overall.”
“Stepping up in tough circumstances, losing key players is extra credit,” La Russa said. “Take advantage of the moment and can’t celebrate because there is so much going on starting tomorrow, winning the series. I can’t be satisfied, nothing automatic, I have to make a decision and play every day.