CHICAGO — Tim Anderson was 0-for-11 in the series when he grounded a ball into the hole to deliver a walk-off victory on Wednesday. And he was 9-for-50 — that’s a .180 average — against the Twins this season. And the grounder, had it been five feet in either direction, probably becomes an inning-ending double play. So that makes the 4-3 loss to the White Sox even more annoying to the Twins.
But as unlikely as the ninth-inning rally was, Twins manager Paul Molitor seemed a little shocked at Chicago’s eighth-inning rally off Taylor Rogers, too. The manager had said before the game that he was grateful that he had been able to give Rogers four days off, “given his workload this year. I haven’t needed him, so for him to get a little rest, it’s great. He’s doing well.”
Rogers, who had not given up a run since Aug. 5 and had given up two extra-base hits in an appearance only once this year, entered the game in the eighth inning and immediately struck out Alan Hanson. Then he got ahead of Leury Garcia by getting him to foul off three straight fastballs. But the fourth pitch, another fastball, was high and in the middle of the strike zone, and Garcia lined it to the wall in left-center.
“I’m not sure if he was trying to go in there, but 0-and-2 doubles, they hurt,” Molitor said.
It was the first extra-base hit Rogers had given up since July 29, more than seven innings ago, and it was followed, surprisingly, by another. Facing rookie Yoan Moncada, Rogers again got ahead 0-2, missed while trying to get him to chase twice, and then looped a curveball that wound up in the middle of the strike zone. Moncada grounded it hard into the left field corner for run-scoring, game-tying double.
“A breaking ball,,” Molitor said. “Not sure where it ended up, but he obviously got enough to get it down the line.”
Jorge Polanco’s home run streak doesn’t really surprise Molitor. “The quality of at-bats has been there for awhile,” the manager said. “It’s just that every one he’s hit has been a home run lately.”
Molitor was especially impressed with Polanco’s 418-foot blast on Wednesday, because of his patience in waiting for his pitch. Polanco had struck out on a slow curve from Chicago starter James Shields in the first inning, then saw two more curves to open his fourth-inning at-bat.
“Shields probably thought he had him set up for a fastball after a steady diet of slow stuff,” Molitor said. “And Jorge was still ready.” The pitch came in high at 89 mph, about as fast as the veteran can throw these days, and Polanco crushed it.