White Sox clinch their 1st postseason berth since 2008 with a 4-3 win over the Twins
Jose Abreu was not going to be denied. The Chicago White Sox trailed the Minnesota Twins by a run in the seventh inning Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field. They had runners on the corners with two outs, and Abreu was at the plate. Abreu hit a grounder to deep short. He raced down the line and beat Jorge Polanco’s throw to first as Jarrod Dyson scored to tie the game. Eloy Jimenez followed with an RBI double to give the team the lead, and the Sox held on to beat the Twins 4-3 and in the process clinch their first postseason berth since 2008. “It’s a culmination of a lot of work over the last few years,” manager Rick Renteria said. "Give credit to all those guys, give credit to the front office, all the work they did collectively, player development, everybody, for continuing to put these guys in a good position. “Hopefully it’s the first step and we continue to move forward.” White Sox manager Rick Renteria celebrates with Tim Anderson (7) on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox defeated the Twins 4-3 to clinch a playoff spot.
The Sox (33-17) took three of four in the crucial series and increased their lead in the American League Central to three over the second-place Twins (31-21). With 10 games remaining, their magic number to win the division is seven. “It definitely means a lot," shortstop Tim Anderson said of the postseason berth. “It had been a minute. Just bringing some more excitement back to the South Side, giving the fans a reason to be excited.”
Abreu went 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk and two RBIs. He’s continuing to make a case in the AL MVP race. He leads the league with 51 RBIs. He was not available for comment after the game. Abreu has been one of the faces of the franchise since arriving in 2014. As he prepared to enter free agency after the 2019 season, Abreu often said that he would re-sign himself to the Sox if the team didn’t sign him first. And he’s had a monster 2020 season. Abreu is the first Sox player with 51 RBIs in the team’s first 50 games since Frank Thomas had 52 in 1996 and the first in the majors to accomplish the feat since the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera had 57 in 2013, according to STATS. “He’s a big part of who we are,” Renteria said. "We’re very thankful he’s still here and a part of the White Sox. This is where he started his career, He’s a heartfelt White Sox. If there’s anybody in that room that I’m really, really happy for, in particular (it’s Abreu). “He does represent the White Sox in the best way you can possibly represent the White Sox.” Abreu’s solo homer in the fourth, his 17th, tied the score at 1. The Twins reclaimed the lead in the fifth on a solo homer by Byron Buxton, his second of the game. Edwin Encarnacion tied the game with his ninth homer of the season in the fifth. The Twins went back ahead in the sixth when Josh Donaldson homered off Reynaldo Lopez. It was a unique trip around the bases for Donaldson, who did not like a strike call on the pitch before the homer. He kicked dirt as he made it to the plate and was kicked out of the game. Lopez pitched well, allowing three runs on four hits with six strikeouts and one walk in 5⅓ innings. The Twins had a chance to add to their lead in the seventh when Luis Robert dropped a fly ball in center. Buxton attempted to score but was thrown out at the plate. Reliever Codi Heuer struck out Max Kepler to end the threat. Dyson, who had two hits, started the rally in the bottom of the seventh with a single. He stole second and moved to third on an Anderson grounder to second. Yasmani Grandal walked with two outs, bringing up Abreu. Abreu has been instrumental with the bat and glove. This time, he showcased just enough speed to beat Polanco’s throw. “That’s huge," Anderson said. "The game’s never over. And for a guy like (Abreu) to beat that ball out, it just sends a message throughout the whole lineup that everybody needs to be hustling. That was a big play.”