MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sonny Gray vomited in the morning, an apparent reaction to medication for an upper respiratory virus circulating in the Minnesota clubhouse.
He pushed through for a favorable result, much like the way the Twins have started this season.
Gray threw five scoreless innings in a third strong start, outdueling Lucas Giolito in a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
The Twins won their third series out of four behind another sharp performance from a thriving rotation that ranks second in the major leagues in ERA at 2.41, with Gray (2-0) piggybacking on a gem by Pablo López on Tuesday night.
“You pray to God that you have players who want to go out there and play and go and do it the way he does it,” manager Rocco Baldelli said through heavy congestion while also dealing with an illness.
Gray gave up three hits and two walks. He was pulled after only 78 pitches after lowering his ERA to 0.53.
“There’s a lot of guys that have been around for a while and couldn’t go out there and execute like he did today,” catcher Ryan Jeffers said.
Jhoan Duran finished the ninth for his third save after allowing a two-out homer to Lenyn Sosa, after the Twins tacked on insurance runs in the eighth inning on an RBI double by Willi Castro and an RBI single by Michael Taylor.
Baldelli was subdued afterward, and not because he was sick. Shortstop Kyle Farmer left the game in the fourth inning after being hit in the face with a fastball from Giolito, and he was headed for oral surgery to realign four teeth and repair a major laceration around his jaw.
“You just can’t stop thinking about him and what he’s gone through and what he’s about to go through,” Baldelli said.
With four regular position players already on the injured list and shortstop Carlos Correa out for the fourth straight game with mid-back spasms, the Twins had another scare in the seventh when Byron Buxton collided with the second baseman Sosa after a groundball.
“We’re going to look at him and make sure he’s doing fine,” Baldelli said.
Giolito (0-1) got back on track after a nightmarish turn at Pittsburgh last week, when he gave up 12 hits, seven runs and two homers in four innings. He struck out seven Twins in six innings, his only run allowed on a bases-loaded groundout by Taylor that scored Jeffers.
Jeffers started the fourth with a gracious triple when right fielder Gavin Sheets got his feet tangled while retreating for a routine fly ball and tumbled to the grass as the ball landed behind him. Taylor’s one-out check swing bounced the ball to first baseman Andrew Vaughn, who bobbled it after stepping on the base — costing him the chance to throw home for a double play.
The White Sox had a rough time in the field all week, with their 4-3 loss in 10 innings the day before ending on a throwing error by third baseman Hanser Alberto. They were charged with three errors in a 4-3 win on Monday afternoon.
“That’s the nature of the game, man,” Giolito said. “Not everything’s going to be firing on all cylinders at all times.”
The White Sox had only 18 hits in the three games.
“They’ve got a good staff, but we have to be able to beat those types of pitchers if we want to get to where we want to go,” manager Pedro Grifol said.
Canadian Edouard Julien made his major league debut for the Twins at second base, promoted from Triple-A St. Paul. The 23-year-old native of Quebec City was ranked this year by MLB.com as the fourth-best prospect in the organization. Julien was an 18th-round draft pick in 2019 out of Auburn.
White Sox: Alberto played 3B for Yoán Moncada (back trouble) for the third straight game.
Twins: Correa will likely return to the lineup on Thursday and not need to go on the IL, Baldelli said.
White Sox: After a day off, RHP Mike Clevinger (2-0, 3.48 ERA) takes the mound for the opener of a three-game series against Baltimore on Friday night.
Twins: RHP Joe Ryan (2-0, 3.75 ERA) pitches in New York on Thursday night to open a four-game series.