Chicago White Sox rookie Gavin Sheets figured to be engulfed by his teammates after drilling a walk-off, three-run home run Monday to end the nightcap of a home doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins.
When Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa summoned Sheets for a hug, however, the 6-foot-5 first baseman/right fielder was especially humbled.
“Keeps getting better and better,” Sheets said, “and as long as we’re winning, it keeps getting more fun.”
After the White Sox salvaged a split of the twin bill against the Twins, the teams will play the third game of the four-game series Tuesday night. Minnesota took the opener 3-2 on Monday before Sheets’ blast lifted Chicago to a 5-3 victory in the second game.
The White Sox have won three of five coming out of the All-Star break. The Twins have lost four of five over the same span, a stretch that included two doubleheaders.
Sheets is batting .333 (3-for-9) with two of his five home runs since the season resumed Friday.
Pressed into action as the American League Central-leading White Sox contended with a spate of injuries, Sheets was called up from Triple-A Charlotte in late June.
He was not part of Chicago’s team at its alternate site during the truncated 2020 season.
“I was just hoping for an opportunity, you know,” Sheets said. “I added the outfield, so just any chance to get in this lineup and help these guys and compete for a championship. So, that’s what it’s all about, and it’s been a lot of fun so far.”
La Russa rested leadoff hitter Tim Anderson in Game 2 of Monday’s doubleheader. The Chicago shortstop enters Tuesday on a career-best, 16-game hitting streak after hitting a solo home run in the third inning of Game 1.
Anderson has a hit and a run in a franchise-record 12 straight games.
Minnesota, the two-time defending division winner, sits in fourth place, 17 games behind the White Sox.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli emphasized that the team is focusing on blocking out rumors as the July 30 trade deadline looms.
“Many guys think they’re going to get traded or they might get traded when in actuality, very few people normally do get traded,” Baldelli said. “Every year … a lot of teams I’ve been around, there might be 10 guys on the team, because they saw some article or they heard their name somewhere one time, they’re showing up to the field still thinking there’s a chance they’re going to get traded, and rarely does it occur.”
Playing for the first time in nearly seven weeks, Twins catcher Mitch Garver provided a bright spot Monday, hitting a pair of home runs in Game 2. Garver had been sidelined since June 1 after sustaining a groin contusion that required surgery.
Minnesota rookie right-hander Bailey Ober (1-1, 5.45 ERA) is set to oppose White Sox lefty Dallas Keuchel (7-3, 4.25 ERA) on Tuesday.
Ober already has started against the White Sox three times in his career, going 1-1 with a 6.57 ERA in 12 1/3 innings.
Keuchel is 6-3 with a 3.91 ERA in 10 career appearances against the Twins, including nine starts.
–Field Level Media