White Sox sweep Twins, run winning streak to 6

Anderson, Lamb homer, Lynn pitches five strong innings as Sox improve to major-league best 22-13.

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Tim Anderson celebrates his lead off, first pitch home run off Twins pitcher Michael Pineda during the first inning of Thursday’s win over Minnesota.

Tim Anderson celebrates his lead off, first pitch home run off Twins pitcher Michael Pineda during the first inning of Thursday’s win over Minnesota.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

With a 4-2 victory Thursday at Guaranteed Rate Field, the White Sox completed a three-game sweep of the sagging Twins, running their winning streak to six games and improving their record to a major-league best 22-13.

The Twins are the defending division champs. The Sox aspire to unseat them, and are playing their best baseball of the season, unfazed by the loss of key players.

How good are things going? Right-hander Lance Lynn was asked if this is the best team he has played on, and Lynn has won a World Series.

“I’ll let you know at the end of October,” said Lynn (4-1), who survived taking a smash off his right wrist that left a mark and required an X-ray to strike out nine over five innings of one-run ball.

All the Sox know is they have a 10-game lead on the Twins (12-23) and aren’t feeling sorry for them.

“They had their shots at whooping on us,” said Tim Anderson, who led off the first inning with a homer against Michael Pineda. “So you know it feels good for the tables to turn a little bit, and for us to finally be in the position to be able to whoop on these guys.”

Jake Lamb also homered against Pineda, and rookie Andrew Vaughn, a day after hitting his first career homer, drove in a run with a single after Adam Eaton bunted Yoan Moncada to third.

Yermin Mercedes, whose spectacular emergence has softened the blow of Eloy Jimenez’s major injury, added a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth. Mercedes has been so good — he leads the majors with a .382 average — and so entertaining that manager Tony La Russa feels bad for the fans when he’s not in the starting lineup.

“He’s writing a fiction story,” La Russa said. “People came to the park, saw he wasn’t [the] DH, and he gets a chance to make a clutch appearance and comes through. That was theatrical, man. High drama. How do you describe it? He puts more dents in the fans’ heart coming through like that.”

Starting pitchers have allowed three runs or less in 29 of 34 games in 2021, including 10 scoreless outings. Lynn lowered his ERA to 1.30.

“Any time you can get a sweep it’s huge,” he said. “When it’s them, it’s even bigger.

“We’re winning games in multiple ways and that’s what it’s all about.”

Left-hander Garrett Crochet walked two batters protecting a two-run lead in seventh, then struck out Nelson Cruz (swinging) and Trevor Larnach (looking) with his hard slider. Closer Liam Hendriks rescued Jose Ruiz from a jam and recorded five outs for his seventh save.

“We know what we’ve got in this clubhouse, we know the talent level we’ve got,” Hendriks said.

“And this is what we expected to do, go out there and go on some lengthy winning streaks. And hopefully we can do something special and keep this going for the rest of the season.”

La Russa isn’t claiming any achievements in May but likes what he sees.

It’s hard not to.

“If this was the first of September, I’d have more to say,” La Russa said when asked to assess how good his team is. “In spring training, when I saw the talent on the roster, it’s real. I’m talking about pitchers — starters and relievers — offense, defense.

“Now it’s a question of just great preparation, great practice, you have the coaches keep tweaking and take it into the games. The baseball gods are listening so I’ll say we’ve got to keep doing it. But the heart and the spirit we have is going to bring that talent out.”

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