MINNEAPOLIS -- Eddie Rosario connected on his first career grand slam, but the Twins couldn't complete a sweep of the White Sox as J.B. Shuck came through with a go-ahead two-run triple in the seventh to lift Chicago to a 6-4 win on Thursday afternoon at Target Field.
The White Sox rallied with a three-run seventh against reliever Casey Fien, keyed by Shuck's pinch-hit two-run triple with one out. Shuck scored on a sacrifice fly from Adam Eaton to give Chicago an insurance run. It snapped Minnesota's three-game win streak, as the Twins now trail the Rangers by 1 1/2 games in the chase for the second American League Wild Card spot.
"Well, I mean we have a chance, we are getting back, we can tie it up. He's our best left-handed pinch-hitter. He's been big for us all year, being able to come in and get some good pinch-hits," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of using Shuck in the seventh. "Just seemed like the right time to do it with him."
The support was enough for White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and four walks. Samardzija's big mistake came on Rosario's grand slam in the third, but he settled down from there.
"Overall, I know I had four walks," Samardzija said. "But I really liked where my pitches were and the action of them."
Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson didn't factor into the decision, but recorded his first quality start since Aug. 1. The sinkerballer allowed three runs on five hits over six innings.
"Samardzija has had similar games against us where we've put up a number on him early in the game and he kind of buckles up and finds a way to get deep into the game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Gibson had a good game. It was a hot day out there. He did a good job minimizing in the first, but a couple wild pitches cost us a couple runs."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED That's really wild: The White Sox three-run rally in the seventh off of Fien would have just tied the game if not for a few little things going their way earlier in the game. They got a run off of Gibson in the fourth when Trevor Plouffe didn't locate Adam LaRoche's two-out bloop single to left against the shift, Gibson wild pitched him to second and Alexei Ramirez singled. A wild pitch in the sixth moved Abreu to third with one out, where Avisail Garcia brought him home with a sacrifice fly. The wild pitches set up both runs.
Rosario is grand: Rosario came up with the bases loaded in the first, but flied out to left on the first pitch from Samardzija after the right-hander issued two straight walks. But Rosario came up with the bases loaded again in the third, and this time made Samardzija pay with his first career grand slam, coming on an 1-0 fastball.
"He took a good swing at that first one but got under it a little bit, but then sure enough it comes up with the same situation and he didn't miss that one," Molitor said. "So it was a good job by him. He's been steady all year."
Working in reserve: Shuck delivered the game-winner, a two-run triple to left off of Fien in the seventh, coming in as a pinch-hitter for Tyler Saladino. According to Statcast™, the opposite-field shot from Shuck was hit at 100 mph.
"Just looking for something up," said Shuck of his seventh pinch-hit this season. "In that situation, you're just looking for something up to drive to the outfield. I was fortunate to get something out over the plate, I was able to get the barrel to it and hit it where they weren't."
Twins can't cash in: After the White Sox rally, the Twins had two runners on with one out in the seventh, but couldn't come through against reliever Nate Jones. Jones struck out Plouffe and Kennys Vargas to get out of the jam. Jones remained in the game in the eighth and gave up a two-out single to Eduardo Nunez, which brought up rookie slugger Miguel Sano as a pinch-hitter. But Sano, who homered off Jones on Tuesday, flied out to shallow right to end the inning.
"We couldn't find a way to get back into the game," Molitor said. "We had a chance with the big boy in there late to at least get a swing in there to see what would happen. But we couldn't find a way to score after the grand slam from Rosario."
"At this point, you've got to think if we go out and win every series, we're going to like where we are at the end of the year. That's the focus. Today was a game we could've possibly won and it stinks, but we were still able to win a series against the White Sox and hopefully we can carry some momentum into the road trip."
-- Gibson, on the Twins winning their fourth straight series despite the loss.More >
"You just can't try to do too much. When you're pinch-hitting, you have to be ready to go right off the bat, and when you get a pitch to hit you've got to be ready and you've got to look for something over the plate and just stay short and compact." -- Shuck, on the art of pinch-hitting that resulted in his game-winning two-run triple
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar has scored a run in 12 straight games, matching Colorado's Nolan Arenado for the longest such streak this season. It's the longest by a Twins player since Orlando Cabrera scored a run in 13 straight games in 2009. Kirby Puckett owns the franchise record, scoring in 14 consecutive in '86.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: The good news for John Danks, who opens a three-game series for the White Sox in Kansas City on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT, is that he has a 9-2 career mark against the Royals. The bad news is that Danks has a 2-8 record with a 6.48 ERA on the road this season.
Twins: The Twins head out on a nine-game road trip that begins in Houston on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who starts the series opener, is coming off a rough start, as he lasted 3 2/3 innings against the Astros last time out on Saturday.