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Gavin Sheets gives White Sox spark in victory over Twins

In his major-league debut, Sheets singled, doubled, drove in two runs and scored once as the Sox held on for a 7-6 win.

The White Sox’ Gavin Sheets hits a pop fly that fell for a run scoring double in the fifth inning Tuesday.
The White Sox’ Gavin Sheets hits a pop fly that fell for a run scoring double in the fifth inning Tuesday.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Gavin Sheets wanted to make an impact.

It didn’t take long.

“This is what I do, I love to hit with runners in scoring position, a big situation in the game,” Sheets said after starting in right field in his major league debut for the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field Tuesday and making a meaningful contribution in a 7-6 Sox victory over the Twins.

Sheets singled in his first at-bat against right-hander Kenta Maeda, an RBI fielder’s choice and a bloop RBI double.

“It kind of took my mind away from, this is your debut. Being thrown into those situations was great,” he said.

“Walking up to the plate, I could hardly feel my feet. The fan response was tremendous. It meant so much to me to hear their noise tonight and every time I came to the plate. Rounding first base was an awesome feeling and getting to see D-Bo [first base coach Daryl Boston] with a big smile on his face topped it off.”

Sheets was part of four roster moves made Tuesday. Jake Lamb (quad) landed on the injured list, outfielder Billy Hamilton (oblique) came off it and outfielder Luis Gonzalez was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.

Lucas Giolito allowed a two-run homer to Josh Donaldson in the first inning but strung together five scoreless innings before allowing a leadoff double to Trevor Larnach in the seventh. Larnach scored on Nelson Cruz’s double, the first of two doubles allowed by Evan Marshall before Marshall left with right forearm soreness and the Sox’ lead cut to 7-5.

After Ryan Burr recorded four consecutive outs in his latest strong outing, closer Liam Hendriks hit a batter, walked another, threw two wild pitches and allowed a run in the ninth but retired Alex Kirilloff with the tying run on third for his 21st save.

Leury Garcia followed Sheets’ first RBI with a go-ahead RBI single in a two-run third and followed Sheets’ double with a sacrifice fly in a four-run fifth. Sheets scored on Danny Mendick’s single.

“He did so many good things, but probably I love his aggressiveness to make things happen,” manager Tony La Russa said. “He wasn’t tentative. It was something he did in Spring Training, which impressed all of us was with two strikes, he had an approach.”

The Twins (33-44), desperate to make up ground on the first-place Sox (46-32), fell 12½ games behind the division leaders.

Moncada out with sore shoulder

Yoan Moncada was out of the lineup because of a sore right shoulder. The third baseman dealt with soreness early in spring training, which isn’t unusual, but he has had it off and on during the season.

“I know he got some treatment and he’s still not right, so just not going to push it,” La Russa said.

“He’s had some issues with it, some already during the first half of the season. He gets treated, he gets exercises. Might he play [Wednesday]? Maybe, but it would be nice to try to get it where he’s not sore. But I don’t think there’s any issue going on the IL.”

Lamb on IL with quad strain

Lamb, who appeared to move gingerly after running down a fly ball Sunday, is on the 10-day IL with a strained right quad.

“It’s going to be at least a 10-day,” La Russa said. “But I don’t think it’s all that serious where it won’t heal sooner than later.”

Ditch the switch

A switch-hitter, Hamilton said he will hit exclusively right-handed. He strained his oblique swinging right-handed, but it only bothers him when he swings left. He batted right against right-hander Michael Kopech in a sim game Monday.

Hamilton entered as a defensive replacement in center field but did not bat.