So much for magic numbers.
With all the attention on the Twins’ countdown to clinching the AL Central — a digit that remained frozen at seven on Wednesday, by the way — it was easy to forget about Jake Odorizzi’s personal magic number: 16.
As in, 16 outs. If the Twins’ righthander records 16 outs, if he pitches 5 ⅓ innings or more, the Twins have been all but unbeatable this season. They hadn’t lost a game that included 16 outs from Odorizzi since his 2019 debut in March, 18 consecutive wins ago.
Odorizzi retired 18 White Sox in the season finale between the teams, but the White Sox somehow overcame the veteran starter’s 16-out alchemy. Using eight different pitchers, Chicago limited the Twins’ record-setting home run offense to two singles and a double that Eddie Rosario ran into an out, and handed the Twins a 3-1 loss at Target Field. Minnesota’s lead over Cleveland, which beat the Tigers 2-1 in 10 innings, narrowed to four games with 10 to play.
“From start to finish, my stuff hasn’t wavered,” Odorizzi said after losing to the White Sox for the second time in a month. “I feel good. I feel strong. I feel like I had good stuff today, just a couple of balls that I’d like to get back.”
Those balls were both to Yoan Moncada, who doubled twice off Odorizzi. An opposite-field double in the second inning put Moncada in position to score when Eloy Jimenez followed with a line-drive single, and a sixth-inning blast off the center field warning track drove in Tim Anderson with another run.
It wasn’t much to give up, even when Chicago added a third run on rookie Zack Collins’ home run off reliever Brusdar Graterol. The Twins, after all, had rallied to victory in each of the first two games of the series. But not this time.
“Not all the time are you hitting homers, hitting a lot of base hits, a lot of runs,” Rosario shrugged. “It’s good to happen, maybe. Tomorrow everybody [will] come in maybe hungry.”
Rosario was a little too hungry for an unnecessary extra base at an inopportune time.
With two outs in the seventh inning, Rosario hit a long fly ball to right field. The ball struck the wall just above Leury Garcia’s glove and bounced away, and Rosario saw an opportunity.
“After I see the ball [hit] the wall, I think I have a good chance to triple,” Rosario said. “I [didn’t] see the center fielder.”
But Adam Engel had ranged over to back up the play. He quickly collected the ricochet and fired it to third base, where Moncada applied the tag.
Chicago’s pitching staff made a lot of perfect throws, bailing out a rotation that suddenly was a man short when Dylan Covey was scratched due to nagging soreness in his pitching shoulder. Ivan Nova, scheduled to start Saturday in Detroit, was suddenly assigned to forgo his between-starts throwing session and pitch an inning against the Twins instead, with the bullpen following.
How’d it go? Well, when Odorizzi left the game in the sixth, his teammates had not yet managed even a hit.
Jorge Polanco finally broke up the no-hitter with a looping line drive to center that fell for a single off Chicago lefthander Josh Osich. Nelson Cruz followed with a walk off Jimmy Cordero, and Rosario singled Polanco home. But that was all the Twins could manage.
“Our offense has been consistently good,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Tonight was just one of those nights.”