White Sox' Michael Kopech finishes Twins with immaculate inning

Kopech struck out three batters on nine pitches to preserve the 3-1 victory.

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White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech reacts after striking out the Twins' Max Kepler to complete an "immaculate inning" to end the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday in Chicago.

White Sox pitcher Michael Kopech reacts after striking out the Twins’ Max Kepler to complete an “immaculate inning” to end the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday in Chicago.

Erin Hooley/AP

Michael Kopech became the first White Sox pitcher to throw an immaculate inning in 101 years Wednesday, striking out the side on nine pitches in the ninth inning of a 3-1 victory in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Two games after allowing four runs, including a three-run, walk-off home run to Jake Burger in the ninth inning Sunday against the Marlins — a blast that left him in a dazed, soul-searching state at his locker in Miami — and two days after bouncing back with a scoreless 10th in a loss to the Twins, Kopech (5.18 ERA) notched his ninth save by blowing away Brooks Lee, Matt Wallner and Max Kepler.

Lee went down looking at a 100 mph fastball, and Wallner and Kepler swung at 100 mph fastballs to end their at-bats.

It was the first immaculate inning in the majors this season and the first by a Sox pitcher since Sloppy Thurston did it in a game against the Athletics in 1923.

‘‘I was telling guys in [the clubhouse] — I’m trying not to lie about it — I was thinking about it from pitch four,’’ Kopech said. ‘‘As soon as I realized there were no balls on the board, I wanted to finish that feat off.’’

A victory of any sort is a feat for the Sox (27-68), who beat the Twins for the first time in nine tries this season before losing 3-2 in Game 2.

‘‘You could definitely say I needed that,’’ Kopech said.

Kopech’s aim to throw more offspeed pitches in the aftermath of his meltdown Sunday was evident with four cutters.

‘‘It’s been a tough stretch,’’ said Kopech, who is in his first season as a closer. ‘‘Had a game plan that I’ve been tentative to lean on, and we finally leaned into it the last couple of days. [Catcher] Korey [Lee] has done a great job of sticking with me through that, and to see it pay off was extremely rewarding. I didn’t expect it to be in that manner, but it was pretty fun.”

‘‘That’s what he’s capable of doing,’’ manager Pedro Grifol said, ‘‘and we’re not going to give up on that ever. That’s the talent he’s got and what he can bring to the table.’’

Thorpe makes history, too

By allowing two runs and three hits in six innings in Game 2, rookie right-hander Drew Thorpe became the first Sox pitcher to work six innings or more while allowing two or fewer runs and three or fewer hits in four consecutive starts.

Thorpe struck out one batter and gave up solo homers in the sixth to Brooks Lee — Thorpe’s college roommate at Cal Poly — and Carlos Correa.

Thorpe (3.58 ERA) has allowed one, seven, zero, two, one and two earned runs in his six starts.

‘‘That’s just kind of who I am and who I’m going to be,’’ Thorpe said. ‘‘Be that staple and try to give as many innings as I can and stack up quality starts.’’

This and that

  • The Sox are 1-14-1 in their last 16 series.
  • Martin Maldonado’s homer in Game 2 was his third in four games. It gave the Sox a 2-0 lead in Game 2.
  • Right-hander Michael Soroka (0-10, 5.25 ERA) allowed one run in one inning in Game 2. The Sox are 1-20 in games in which he has appeared.
  • Left-handed pitching prospect Jake Eder, who was acquired in the trade for Burger last season, was called up from Double-A Birmingham as the 27th man for the doubleheader but didn’t pitch. He was promoted nonetheless, being sent to Triple-A Charlotte after the game.
  • Outfielder Dominic Fletcher was reinstated from the 10-day injured list (left shoulder) and optioned to Charlotte.
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