CHICAGO — How crazy was the White Sox’s 4-3 win over the Twins in a guaranteed rate field Friday night? Check out the facts below.
The White Sox got not one, but two away moments, although only the second was counted through José Abreu’s fielder-selected grounds, one loaded and one out.
The bench and bullpen were emptied when Minnesota got close to Jorge Lopez (4-7) hitting Andrew Vaughn and loaded the bases with an out in the ninth. No one was evicted. (There was some confusion as to whether White Sox acting manager Miguel Cairo was dumped, but he wasn’t.)
“We’re going well,” Vaughan said. “We’re getting more consistent on the plate, we’re hitting the ball well, we’re pitching well. Gotta keep rolling every day.”
According to Statcast, Romi Gonzalez and Elvis Andrews singled out a one-out to create a game-winning situation before Lopez hit Vaughan at 97.1 mph . That pitch wasn’t intentional, but when Vaughan and Lopez exchanged words, the altercation quickly began.
Vaughan ran to first base with his head down, not hearing what Lopez said.
“I’ve been slapped a few times. Got slapped in the face a few weeks ago. On the spur of the moment, I’m pissed, I’m frustrated,” Vaughn said. “I know he didn’t do it on purpose.
“No pitcher tried to load base with MVP coming next. I was just crazy. After I said, ‘That’s what I thought, that’s not right,’ I put my head down. And went to first base. Then everyone was on the field. We won and that was the most important thing.”
Lopez said he pitched in the paint all season, and Vaughan gave him “any face” and his response was an argument.
“The last time I was here with Baltimore, I did the same thing,” Lopez said. “If they don’t like me pitching, that’s something they can’t take away from me. …I’m just going to keep pitching.
“We are living in a moment of unity here. We are united,” Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo. “We’re working towards the same goal, we’re winning as many games as we can and trying to stay united.”
Abreu looked to win the match at the next López pitch, which seemed to hit him, forcing him to win the match. But in the Twins’ challenge, that decision was overturned as replays showed the ball hitting Abreu’s bat knob.
After two pitches, Abreu hit a ground ball that second baseman Nick Gordon and shortstop Carlos Correa couldn’t turn into an inning-ending double. In fact, Correa didn’t pitch after catching Gordon’s awkward flip.
“Honestly, I love that kind of stuff. I love the intensity and energy of a game like this,” Gordon said of the tension in the ninth inning. “Honestly, just hearing the crowd and seeing us even getting a little rowdy, I liked it. No one was hurt, so that’s always a positive. But man, it just adds a little bit of momentum to the game.”
“It’s not for other people. It’s for me,” Abreu said of his game-winning punt. “It was mine.”
Abreu’s 62nd RBI marks third straight win for the White Sox (66-66), who are two games behind the American League Central Twins (67-63) and the Guardians (68-62) Three games. Cleveland has a total of one point in its past three losses, and the White Sox have ace Dylan Cease in Saturday’s game.
There’s a lot of work to be done, but as the final 30 games loom, the atmosphere inside this team is different. They battled to get themselves back into competition with head coach Tony La Russa out for health reasons.
“They’re just playing right now,” Cairo said. “The game should be played like this: work hard, compete, get out there, give everything you have, and enjoy what you’re doing.”
“Yes, we have to keep going every day,” Vaughan said. “Learn from what we’ve been doing and try to do better. I think we’ve got 30 left, a little push.”