Pineda hopes to put Twins back on track vs. White Sox

Field Level Media

August 20, 2019 at 6:54 am.

After their four-game winning streak was snapped by the Chicago White Sox in the series opener Monday, the American League Central-leading Minnesota Twins will turn to right-hander Michael Pineda in Game 2 of the three-game series on Tuesday night in Minneapolis.

Pineda (8-5, 4.20 ERA), who missed the entire 2018 season following Tommy John surgery, has arguably been the Twins’ most consistent starter over the past two months. He has allowed three runs or fewer in 14 of his last 15 starts and has won two of his past three starts, including a 13-6 victory at Texas on Thursday.

Pineda is 3-3 with a 3.08 ERA in six career starts against the White Sox but is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts vs. Chicago this season. Both of those contests — a 10-3 victory on June 29 and a 6-2 win on July 26 — came in Chicago. He allowed a combined 10 hits and three earned runs in 13 innings while striking out 13.

Right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, who is 1-2 with a 5.46 ERA in five career starts against the Twins, will start for the White Sox. Lopez (7-10, 5.29 ERA) has yet to win in three career starts at Target Field, where he has compiled a 0-2 record and a 5.40 ERA.

Lopez lost at Minnesota on May 24, when he gave up eight runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Minnesota enters the contest with a two-game lead over the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central despite losing 6-4 to the White Sox on Monday night.

The Twins lost even though they out-hit Chicago, 15-8. Minnesota left 10 men on base, including runners on first and second in the ninth when Alex Colome struck out Miguel Sano to end the game for his 24th save in 25 tries.

The White Sox, who snapped a seven-game losing streak at Target Field, improved to 44-0 this season when leading after eight innings.

Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said, “We had opportunities. We had a lot of good at-bats. Put ourselves in a good position to score enough runs. Just didn’t get the hits with runners in scoring position.”

The Twins finished 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

“Sometimes you put them on and don’t bring them in when you need to,” Baldelli said. “It’s tough. It’s frustrating. But again, I thought the quality of at-bats was good.”

Chicago scored four runs in the third off Kyle Gibson, including a 442-foot three-run homer by Jose Abreu to take a 4-2 lead. The White Sox scored what proved to be the decisive run in the seventh on a one-out, 0-2 suicide squeeze by Yolmer Sanchez.

“There’s nothing you are going to be able to do about it,” Baldelli said. “It’s an unconventional play. It’s not something you can prepare for. Truthfully, I think it’s the only one I’ve ever seen in pro ball with two strikes. In a situation like that, I’ve never seen it, and I doubt many of our players on the field have ever seen one. It was well-executed.”

Chicago manager Rick Renteria was asked the logic of calling for a suicide squeeze in that situation.

“Without getting too deep into it, he’s already down two strikes,” Renteria said. “I have to take into account what the guy does, and we gambled. It worked. We tacked on the run. Pretty exciting.”