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Luis Robert powers White Sox’ come-from-behind victory over Twins

The Sox took sole possession of first place in the American League Central, rallying from a four-run deficit to win 8-5.

Luis Robert rounds third base on a solo home run off Minnesota Twins pitcher Trevor May to tie the baseball game in the seventh inning, Monday, Aug. 31 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
AP Photos

There was no no-hitter — not even close — from Lucas Giolito on Monday.

But there was Luis Robert.

In what was said to be the White Sox’ biggest series in recent memory and with their ace on the mound to start it off against the defending American League Central champion Twins, the Sox dropped the ball early on, making three errors in the second inning and falling behind by four runs. But Robert, the Sox’ sensational rookie center fielder, made all of it moot in an 8-5 victory over the Twins that lifted the Sox (22-13) into sole possession of first place in the AL Central.

“With the lineup we have, four runs is nothing,” Robert said through a translator.

Robert slammed his 10th home run, most among AL rookies, against Trevor May to tie the score at 5 in the seventh, then added a go-ahead RBI double in the ninth against Taylor Rogers. after right fielder Max Kepler dropped Edwin Encarnacion’s routine fly and James McCann’s single. Nomar Mazara provided insurance with a two-run single as the Sox won for the 12th time in 14 games.

Robert’s homer traveled 449 feet and left the park at 111 mph.

“This speaks to what kind of team we are,” said Robert, whose walk-off homer Sunday beat the Royals. “We never put our head down.”

Right fielder Adam Engel (ball between his legs), second baseman Nick Madrigal (bad throw) and Giolito (muffed play on slow tap near the mound) lowlighted a messy three-run Twins second. Miguel Sano’s homer on a hanging slider made it 4-0 in the third inning.

But the Sox got two back in the fourth on a two-run single by Engel against left-hander Rich Hill, and Jose Abreu collected his 31st and 32nd RBI with a two-out double against Tyler Clippard in the sixth.

Giolito, coming off his no-hitter that featured 13 strikeouts and one walk against the Pirates last Tuesday, struck out eight but needed 94 pitches to get through five innings. He allowed four runs (two earned), four hits and a walk but got through five innings by retiring seven of the last eight batters face.

“This is the most fun I’ve ever had playing baseball,” Giolito said. “It’s not even close.”

Matt Foster (4-0, 1.13 ERA) pitched a perfect eighth with two strikeouts and Alex Colome collected his seventh save in as many opportunities.

The Sox have a one-game lead over the Indians and lead the Twins by 2½ games. Robert’s homer was their 54th in August, a club record for one month.

Yolmer joins the club

Infielder Yolmer Sanchez’s contract was purchased from the Schaumburg training facility, and infielder Ryan Goins was designated for assignment.

Sanchez, 28, was signed by the Sox as a free agent Aug. 26.

He won a Gold Glove for AL second basemen last season with the Sox but was nontendered in the offseason He signed a minor-league deal with the Giants but was released last week.

Bummer has nerve issue

Left-hander Aaron Bummer, on the injured list since Aug. 8 with a strained left biceps, has a nerve issue near the biceps, general manager Rick Hahn revealed. The biceps muscle is healed, but with the nerve problem, “we aren’t quite certain exactly when he’s going to be able to return,” Hahn said.

“It really comes down to getting that nerve calmed down, and then as we ramp him up, which we have started to do on a throwing program, how the nerve responds. So it’s quite possible, based on how the throwing program lays out, that you see us at some point put him on the 45-day IL. But that’s simply because the program is very slow and deliberate, and his return is scheduled for the other side of the 45-day absence.”

Bummer signed a five-year, $16 million extension in the offseason and would be a vital piece in the bullpen. That is, if he returns this season.

“There is no long-term concern with Aaron,” Hahn said. “If for whatever reason this throwing program doesn’t work or he doesn’t return this year, it should be fully behind him when we report to spring training next year.”

No Moncada again

Third baseman Yoan Moncada missed his second straight start with a tight hamstring.