Twins clobber Michael Kopech with four homers, White Sox sink lower in AL Central
Kepler, Polanco, Kirilloff, Miranda go deep against Kopech in right-hander’s latest rocky start.
Michael Kopech got rocked for four home runs, and the White Sox got knocked down another notch in the AL Central.
The division leading Twins, defeating the Sox for the second time in two nights, scored six runs against Kopech in the right-hander’s fourth undistinguished outing since exiting a start with a sore right knee on June 13, and the Sox fell 6½ games behind the Twins with an 8-2 loss.
A night after a perplexing Sox baserunning gaffe resulted in the first center field-to-third base triple play ever, the Twins knocked Kopech out in the fifth inning. Kopech allowed eight hits, four walks — three in a scoreless first inning — and struck out five in 4 2/3 innings.
“There’s a couple of things they’ll be working on to get him fixed,” manager Tony La Russa said. “I don’t want to get into [specifics]. It’s all fixable.”
The homers by Max Kepler, Jose Miranda, Alex Kirilloff and Jorge Polanco gave Sox opponents 52 at Guaranteed Rate Field. By comparison, the Sox have 32. Kirilloff homered again in the seventh against Vince Velasquez, giving the Twins an 8-2 lead.
Kopech had a 1.92 ERA when he left his start against the Rangers after 13 pitches with a sore right knee. He made his next start a week later, but has allowed 16 earned runs in 21 innings since, raising his ERA to 3.34. La Russa said the knee is “not an issue.”
“Good question to ask, but that’s not a problem,” La Russa said.
Grandal goes on rehab assignment
Yasmani Grandal leaves for a rehab assignment Wednesday and expects to rejoin the team July 22 after the All-Star break. Grandal will be at Double-A Birmingham through the weekend and then at Triple-A Charlotte, where he’ll work with Sox catching coordinator Julio Mosquera.
Grandal went on the injured list June 13 with low back spasms.
“My left leg actually pretty much turned off,” Grandal said. “Just because whatever was happening with my back hit a nerve and it like just completely shut the leg off.
Jimenez back, but where?
Where Eloy Jimenez gets the bulk of his time — left field or designated hitter — when he comes off the IL remains to be seen, although DH makes the most sense considering his defensive limitations and coming off an injury.
“You just go day to day,” La Russa said. “I don’t know how realistic it is to play him three straight days in the outfield.”
A sore right leg has limited Andrew Vaughn to DH and first base since June 17, but he was working in the outfield Tuesday with coach Daryl Boston.
Jimenez’ arrival could bump third baseman Jake Burger, who is batting .250/.302/.458 with eight homers (and six errors) in 50 games, off the roster. Burger had one plate appearance on the West Coast road trip last week, his time cut by Yoan Moncada’s return from the IL. He played second base in the ninth inning Tuesday.
This and that
Josh Harrison had a double and single for his 999th and 1,000 career hits. Harrison is batting .353/.423/.500 since May 30. Harrison also got doubled off second base on a line drive, and he pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
• Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
• AJ Pollock was ejected in the ninth for arguing balls and strikes.
• Rain forced a 35-minute delay in the eighth inning.