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Adam Engel, Tim Anderson lift White Sox to 3-1 win over Twins

The White Sox widen their lead in the AL Central to two games with 13 games left.

Adam Engel hits a pinch-hit RBI-single off Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Taylor Rogers during the eighth inning Monday.
Adam Engel hits a pinch-hit RBI-single off Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Taylor Rogers during the eighth inning Monday.
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Adam Engel fouled off a sacrifice bunt, then he showed another one.

But only for a brief moment. With the go-ahead run at second base in the eighth inning of a tie game and battle for first place in the American League Central with the visiting Twins, Engel pulled back and slashed a single to center field against left-hander Taylor Rogers, scoring Yoan Moncada with the go-ahead run in a White Sox’ 3-1 victory Monday.

Shortstop Tim Anderson then cracked his third hit, a double off the left-field wall, to score Luis Robert for a two-run cushion, and the Sox (31-16) held on to widen their lead in first place to two games.

The Sox, enjoying a playoff atmosphere in September for the first time since 2012 when they finished in second place, won for the 21st time in 26 games and cooled off the Twins (30-19), who had swept the Indians over the weekend and had won 10 of their last 12.

“That game was a great preview of what [the postseason] would be like,” said right-hander Dylan Cease, who escaped numerous jams and pitched 4 23 innings of one-run ball. “Every pitch felt important, every play felt important.”

The Twins were held 2-for-16 hitting with runners in scoring position, and the Sox became the first team since the Giants against the Dodgers on May 3, 2013 to allow 18 or more baserunners but only one run in a nine-inning game.

Closer Alex Colome got the last four outs and earned the win. He entered after left-hander Gio Gonzalez walked two in the eighth with two outs in a tie game, and Colome walked Max Kepler to load the bases for Nelson Cruz. But Cruz, retired twice with the bases loaded, grounded out to Anderson.

Rogers returned the free-pass favor in the bottom of the eighth, walking Yoan Moncada and Robert — in a 10-pitch at-bat — to open the inning. Engel then pinch-hit for Nomar Mazara.

“I looked up and saw the shortstop had vacated,” Engel said. “I was trying to square a little bit early on the second attempt to see if they did the same thing and the shortstop vacated again so I pulled back and just tried to hit a ground ball up the middle.”

In the ninth, Byron Buxton’s line drive to left field with two outs was misplayed by Eloy Jimenez (2-for-3), then stuck under the cushion on the wall and was ruled a ground rule double. Colome then struck out Jake Cave to end the game.

Cease (3.20) allowed the leadoff man to reach in the first five innings (including two doubles and two walks) but only in the fifth did the Twins make Cease pay, scoring the tying run on Jorge Polanco’s two-out single.

Second baseman Nick Madrigal’s bloop single to right near the foul line in the second inning against right-hander Jose Berrios scored Moncada from second to give Cease a 1-0 lead.

Evan Marshall entered in relief of Codi Heuer in the sixth with two outs and struck out Cruz with the bases loaded, then pitched a scoreless seventh.

“Everybody knows this is playoff baseball basically when we’re going up against the Twins late in September,” Marshall said. “Tonight was huge. You can’t put enough emphasis on starting this series off with a win. But tomorrow is another day.”

Anderson, who singled in two of his first three at-bats, raised his league-leading average to .369 with the double.

The Twins were without Eddie Rosario (bruised elbow), Miguel Sano (sore neck) and Marwin Gonzalez, who was scratched from the lineup with a non-COVID-related illness.

“In the recent history, the way we fare against the Twins, they kind of seem like the big, bad Twins,” Marshall said. “But we’re killing the ball right now and I think they’ve got to be at least a little bit intimidated looking across with the lineup that we’re rolling out.”