CHICAGO — Gavin Sheets had two hits and two RBIs in his major league debut, helping Lucas Giolito and the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 7-6 on Tuesday night.
Leury García also drove in two runs as Chicago increased its AL Central lead to 2 1/2 games over Cleveland after the Indians’ matchup with Detroit was postponed by rain. The White Sox had dropped seven of nine.
Giolito (6-5) pitched six-plus innings of three-run ball in his first win in a month. The right-hander went 0-1 with a 3.96 ERA over his previous four outings.
Giolito surrendered a two-run drive to Josh Donaldson on his fifth pitch of the game. But he quickly settled down in his 100th career start.
After crossing the plate following his 12th homer, Donaldson rubbed his hands together and appeared to yell, “Not sticky anymore,” as he made his way to the Twins’ dugout.
Donaldson has been one of baseball’s most outspoken sluggers when it comes to pitchers using sticky substances, something the league recently started cracking down on.
The Twins had won seven of nine. They scored three times in the seventh, including RBI doubles by Nelson Cruz and Max Kepler, and then pulled within one on Jorge Polanco’s run-scoring groundout in the ninth.
But Liam Hendriks earned his 21st save when he retired Alex Kirilloff on a fly ball to center, stranding a runner at third.
Sheets, the son of former big league outfielder Larry Sheets, lined an opposite-field single to left in the second for his first hit. He tied it at 2 when he drove in a run with an infield out that went off the glove of Kenta Maeda (3-3) in the third.
The White Sox opened a 7-2 lead with four runs in the fifth. Sheets had a bloop RBI double, and García followed with a sacrifice fly. Danny Mendick and Tim Anderson capped the inning with run-scoring singles.
Maeda was charged with seven runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He issued five walks, matching a career high, and struck out four.
There was a 10-minute rain delay in the third. The grounds crew started to get the tarp out, but it stopped raining before it even pulled it over the infield.
Twins: 2B Jorge Polanco was shaken up after he was caught stealing in the fifth, colliding with SS Anderson at second base. But Polanco stayed in the game. … Manager Rocco Baldelli said C Mitch Garver (groin contusion) could return around the All-Star break. Garver hasn’t played since he left a June 1 game at Baltimore following a first-inning foul tip. Baldelli said they will be conservative in bringing Garver back. “Some of this is stuff that we do need to make sure for his quality of life going forward and his general health, we do need to make sure he is completely healed up before we start any strenuous baseball activity,” Baldelli said. … RHP Michael Pineda (elbow inflammation) is scheduled for a rehab start with Triple-A St. Paul on Thursday.
White Sox: 3B Yoán Moncada was out of the starting lineup because of a “barking” right shoulder, manager Tony La Russa said. … RH reliever Evan Marshall departed with an apparent injury in the seventh. … CF Luis Robert has been cleared to increase his level of baseball activities at the team’s complex in Arizona. Robert tore his right hip flexor on May 2. … OF Jake Lamb (strained right quadriceps) was placed on the 10-day injured list, and OF Billy Hamilton was reinstated from the IL. Hamilton had been sidelined by a strained right oblique. … RHP Michael Kopech (strained left hamstring) threw a simulated game on Monday, and the team said it went well.
Right-handers Bailey Ober (0-0, 4.64 ERA) and Dylan Cease (6-3, 3.81 ERA) pitch on Wednesday night. Ober made his big league debut against the White Sox on May 18, allowing four runs in four innings. Cease is 0-2 with a 9.18 ERA in four career starts versus the Twins.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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