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Pitch behind Yermin Mercedes ‘not that suspicious,’ White Sox manager Tony La Russa says

Jorge Polanco’s single against Liam Hendriks deals the White Sox a 5-4 loss.

The Twins’ Jorge Polanco hits a single to drive in the winning run against the White Sox Tuesday night.
The Twins’ Jorge Polanco hits a single to drive in the winning run against the White Sox Tuesday night.
Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP

MINNEAPOLIS — The White Sox were trying to do all they could to avoid getting sidetracked by manager Tony La Russa’s calling out of Yermin Mercedes for missing a sign and hitting a home run the night before.

There was just no getting over three home runs by Miguel Sano and a walk-off single by Jorge Polanco against closer Liam Hendriks in the ninth that lifted the Twins to a 5-4 victory Tuesday night. Sano hit a two-run tying blast to right-center against lefty Aaron Bummer in the eighth after belting two solo shots against Sox starter Lance Lynn.

Polanco singled home Andrelton Simmons, who led off the inning against Bummer with a single. It was the first victory of the year in five tries against the Sox for the Twins, who celebrated near second base a night after losing 16-4 in a game marked by Mercedes’ homer against position player Willians Astudillo.

Mercedes’ homer came on a 3-0 pitch, prompting La Russa to apologize to the Twins, but that didn’t stop Twins reliever Tyler Duffey from throwing behind Mercedes in the seventh inning. Duffey and manager Rocco Baldelli were ejected.

La Russa said he didn’t suspect Duffey was throwing at Mercedes.

“What did they do? The guy might just have been trying to get a sinker in,” La Russa said. “You don’t read minds. So I’m not going to read their mind. I also don’t second-guess the umpire against his judgment.

“It wasn’t that suspicious. I’m suspicious when someone throws at someone’s head.”

Lynn pitched six innings of two-run ball, and Yasmani Grandal and Jake Lamb homered as the Sox built an early 4-0 lead.

Lynn didn’t have his strikeout stuff going — he fanned two — but walked only one and allowed five hits.

Seeing Mercedes get buzzed, obvious to almost everyone for what happened the night before, Lynn defended him.

“If a position player is on the mound, there are no rules,” Lynn said. “Let’s get the game over with. And if you have a problem with whatever happened, then put a pitcher out there.”

Lynn said he was surprised to see the Twins seemingly retaliate in the fashion they did.

“It’s just one of those things where people are going to get their ideas of how they should do things,” Lynn said. “I’ve been in the situation [with the Rangers] last year where [Fernardo] Tatis did the 3-0 grand slam off of a pitcher that had 10 years in the big leagues and didn’t throw another pitch in the big leagues after that, and everyone seemed to think that was fine.

“And then today they throw at him when [it was a] position player on the mound, and it’s like, we’re trying to get the game over with, let’s swing and get things going. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t, it seems like. But I think everybody should just play the game as hard as they can and do all that, and don’t worry about anything else.”