MINNEAPOLIS — The White Sox are flexing some home-run muscle, and that’s a good thing.
On nights like Tuesday, in a 4-3 loss to the Twins, the home-run ball was all they had offensively. They needed a little more.
“It’s an important asset, a dimension that’s much welcomed,” manager Tony La Russa said. “But you have to string base hits together on days like today, against better pitching. We have the potential to have a complete offensive team.”
Adam Engel and Jose Abreu hit back-to-back homers in the third inning off Griffin Jax, who struck out 10, to erase a two-run deficit and extend the Sox’ homer streak to 11 games. But they had only four other hits, and their four-game winning streak came to an end.
Abreu smacked his 22nd homer into the visitors’ bullpen, putting him one away from Harold Baines (221) on the franchise’s all-time list and tying him with Twins great Tony Oliva for fourth-most among Cuban-born players. Abreu, who has homered in four of his last seven games, extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games.
Engel, who clubbed a 416-foot shot to center field, homered for the seventh time in 31 games and 111 plate appearances.
The lead held up until Twins third baseman Willians Astudillo sent a cutter from Dallas Keuchel that was a few inches inside into the left-field seats in the sixth inning, putting the Twins in front 4-3. It followed a two-out walk to Miguel Sano.
“That was a good setup pitch,’’ Keuchel said. ‘‘I wouldn’t take that pitch back; it was well-executed. But I walked four guys and gave up four runs. I can’t do that.”
Keuchel (7-6, 4.51 ERA) allowed two runs in the first and sixth innings and finished with one strikeout.
“Three walks in the first inning, right? That’s where he struggled,” La Russa said. “After that, he pitched outstanding, was getting guys out. Then he made a mistake. After the first inning, he was in control and gave us a chance to win.”
Grandal getting closer
Catcher Yasmani Grandal is progressing well and taking regular batting practice.
He’s getting closer to going on a minor-league rehab assignment.
Grandal tore a tendon in his right knee in Minnesota on July 5 and had surgery.
Seby Zavala was the Sox’ starting catcher for the 12th time in the last 16 games. Zavala is batting .212/.293/.423, but his defense and game-calling have given him the majority of starts over the left-handed-hitting Zack Collins (.197/.315/.338) since he was called up from Triple-A Charlotte on July 6.
This and that
After playing two games coming off his minor-league rehab assignment, center fielder Luis Robert will be off Wednesday afternoon and play Thursday night against the Yankees in the Field of Dreams game, La Russa said. Carlos Rodon will start Thursday against Yankees left-hander Andrew Heaney.
† Gavin Sheets, in his first game since being optioned to Charlotte on Monday to make room for Robert, homered in his first at-bat and doubled his second time up for the Knights.