White Sox survive three errors, top Twins

Hanser Alberto belted a three-run homer in the 4-3 victory.

SHARE White Sox survive three errors, top Twins
Hanser Alberto homered for the White Sox.

Hanser Alberto celebrates his three-run home run against the Twins in the third inning of Monday’s game in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

David Berding/Getty Images

MINNEAPOLIS — Sure, it’s early. Yes, there are 151 games left on the schedule, and all but one on the American League Central docket after the White Sox’ 4-3 victory over the Twins.

But the Sox know it’s time to start putting it together if they want to look like serious players in the 2023 postseason picture.

“I don’t like that term ‘early’; it’s not early,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said.

“It’s a major-league baseball game that we’ve got to win. Whether it’s April 1 or freaking September something.”

Grifol’s view of his team after 11 games? “We’re talented; we’re hungry; we’ve just got to put it all together.”

The Sox’ pitching was among the worst in the majors in the first week and a half of the season. Their hitting was among the best. The defense had been good, a refreshing change from 2022 — until Monday, when three errors and at least two bad infield decisions were costly.

As Tim Anderson said before the game, the Sox don’t want to fall back behind the division leaders and have to play catch-up. Having Dylan Cease on the mound to open the first series against an AL Central foe felt like a good time to reset, but Cease needed 99 pitches to get through five innings, in large part because of the shoddy defense behind him.

Third baseman Hanser Alberto, playing in place of Yoan Moncada (sore back), misplayed a ground ball for an error that cost a run in the third inning. Elvis Andrus, playing second base, botched Nick Gordon’s ground ball in the fifth, and first baseman Gavin Sheets had Matt Wallner’s hot smash go between his legs, allowing Gordon to score. Sheets, whose relay home to catcher Yasmani Grandal was late, probably shouldn’t have cut off Oscar Colas’ throw toward the plate from right field as it looked to be on target.

Andrus and Alberto turned a double-play ball into one out in the fourth, resulting in a botched rundown that got Anderson hurt. He eventually left the game.

Alberto’s three-run home run against Kenta Maeda in the fourth offset a chunk of the damage. It came after Grandal’s RBI single had made it 1-1.

“After that error, that’s the best feeling,” Alberto said. ‘‘Obviously, we didn’t play the best defense. If you can help in the other way, it will be good.”

The Sox’ bullpen, overworked and shaky early on, had its second consecutive scoreless game with Jimmy Lambert, Kendall Graveman, Aaron Bummer and Reynaldo Lopez doing the work.

Lopez stranded a runner at third by striking out Michael Taylor to end the eighth, then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth as the Sox improved to 5-6.

“There was a lot of leverage going on in that game for our relievers, and they responded,” Grifol said.

Cease (2-0, 1.65 ERA) allowed three runs, but only one was earned. He struck out six, walked two and allowed three hits. The bullpen allowed only one hit.

“It’s still early, and we’re going to continue to kind of get into a groove and rhythm and hopefully just continue to keep going up and up,” Cease said.

“The effort has been great. That’s really the biggest thing. That’s the only thing I’m concerned with, and I haven’t seen any issues there. If we keep showing up like we are, good things are going to happen.”

As Grifol said, this one wasn’t textbook. And there are injuries to deal with now.

“But there were gutty performances,” he said. “Cease battled through adversity; a few errors led him to find himself in a little trouble. He made great pitches when he needed to make them after the errors.”

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