Edouard Julien smacked a three-run home run and Jorge Polanco added a solo shot to back seven shutout innings from Sonny Gray as the visiting Minnesota Twins blanked the Chicago White Sox 4-0 on Sunday afternoon.
American League Central-leading Minnesota (79-71) won three of four games against Chicago in the weekend series. The Twins lowered their magic number to six to clinch the division with 12 games remaining in the regular season.
Gray needed just 81 pitches to cover his seven innings. He scattered five hits and six strikeouts to improve to 8-7. Griffin Jax and Emilio Pagan closed the shutout by combining for two innings of one-hit relief with two strikeouts.
Twins pitching didn’t issue a walk until Trayce Thompson worked one against Pagan with two outs in the ninth.
Andrew Benintendi had a double among his two hits for the White Sox, while Thompson added two hits. Chicago (57-93) lost for the 12th time in the past 16 games.
White Sox starter Dylan Cease fell to 7-8 after allowing three runs and four hits in six innings with three walks and five strikeouts. The right-hander had retired eight Twins in a row before Minnesota rallied in the fifth.
A Ryan Jeffers one-out single and a walk to Kyle Farmer preceded Julien’s opposite-field blast to left-center field on a 3-2 pitch.
Minnesota added an insurance run to lead off the eighth inning, as Polanco hit a solo home run against Luis Patino.
Chicago stranded seven runners while going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The Twins stranded five and were 1-for-3 with men in scoring position.
Minnesota bench coach Jayce Tingler served as acting manager in place of Rocco Baldelli, who is on paternity leave as his wife prepares to give birth to twin boys.
The Twins won the season series from the White Sox 9-4, including a 6-1 mark after the All-Star break.
Sunday marked both teams’ final game against a division foe this season.
–Field Level Media