MINNEAPOLIS — Eloy Jimenez would not let his good friend Luis Robert be the story Monday night.
Lucas Giolito didn’t, either.
As the White Sox celebrated the return of Robert to center field for the first time since May 2, Jimenez and Giolito stole the show. Jimenez, the designated hitter, slammed home runs in the first and second innings against Twins right-hander Beau Burrows, knocked in five runs in the process and powered his team to an 11-1 victory at Target Field.
Jimenez’s homers, a 454-foot blast to center field and a 359-footer to left, came a night after he hit two home runs and collected five RBI against the Cubs. He became the only Sox player in history to drive in five runs or more in consecutive games and, according to STATS, is the second player to have two-plus homers and five-plus RBI within the first five innings in back-to-back games since the RBI became an official stat in 1920. The Reds’ Lee May also did it in 1969.
After a 2-for-19 start when he came back from a torn pectoral muscle, Jimenez has nine hits in his last eight games, seven for extra bases. In 187 games, he is the fastest Sox player to reach 50 homers in his career.
“I didn’t even know that,” Jimenez said. “Just keep going.”
The Sox (67-46) opened with a leadoff homer by Tim Anderson (three hits, two RBI) and a homer by Jimenez in the first for the second straight game. Anderson, who led off consecutive games with homers against the Tigers last season, has 12 homers and hiked his average to .300.
Robert dropped a double in front of center fielder Jake Cave for his ninth RBI of the season in the fifth inning and singled in the ninth.
He strained his right hip flexor in May and returned from a minor-league rehab assignment.
Giolito (9-8, 3.81 ERA) pitched eight innings of one-run ball with eight strikeouts and no walks, facing the minimum until Miguel Sano’s homer with one out in the eighth. Before that, the only Twins hit was a single by Luis Arraez in the fifth that caromed off Giolito’s calf.
Giolito said he pitched with “controlled emotion and anger with each pitch” to get himself going.
“Just create it, find something to tick myself off — things batters are doing — and let it fuel me,” he said.
Trevor Larnach was hit by a pitch in the third, but Arraez and Larnach were wiped out on double plays started by third baseman Yoan Moncada, who also belted his 10th homer.
The Sox are 13-4 against the Twins and have beaten them by 10 or more runs three times.
Positive COVID test sidelines Benetti
TV play-by-play voice Jason Benetti will miss the Sox’ upcoming broadcasts after a breakthrough positive test for the coronavirus. Benetti just called the Olympic baseball semifinals and final for NBC and is recovering at home in Chicago.
Benetti said on his Twitter account that he is mildly symptomatic and plans to return soon. Mike Monaco, who worked Monday’s game, will fill in during Benetti’s absence. Monaco is a play-by-play announcer for ESPN and its ACC Network and fills in on Red Sox games for NESN.