Hop-Off Winner: Kepler Gets Hit By Pitch, Twins Sweep White Sox 5-4

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Max Kepler was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Minnesota Twins rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4 Thursday for their fourth straight win.

Trailing 4-3 entering their final at-bat at Target Field, the Twins came back and held their slim lead for the second AL wild-card spot. The Twins completed a three-game sweep with their first hop-off win since current Minnesota manager Paul Molitor was plunked in the 10th at the Metrodome in 1996 to beat Kansas City.

Pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza opened the ninth with an infield single off closer Juan Minaya (2-2). After a one-out walk, Eddie Rosario hit a tying single.

Joe Mauer then walked to load the bases and Jorge Polanco lined back to Minaya. With the crowd on its feet, Minaya’s first pitch hit Kepler in the front lower leg for the winning run. Knocked to the ground, Kepler got up quickly and trotted to first.

Alen Hanson hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead. He connected off Matt Belisle (1-2).

Finishing with a major league-leading 20 wins in victories, Minnesota won 20 games in a month for the 10th time in team history and second time in 25 seasons. The Twins went 20-7 in May 2015.

Both starters — Chicago’s Miguel Gonzalez and Minnesota’s Bartolo Colon — allowed three earned runs in six innings. Colon gave up 10 hits and struck out eight; Gonzalez gave up seven hits and fanned five.

Chicago, 4-19 in its last 23 road games, scored three runs on nine hits between the second and fourth innings, but left two men on in each frame.

An RBI single by Rob Brantly and RBI double by Adam Engel gave Chicago a 2-0 lead in the second. Yolmer Sanchez had an RBI single in the fourth for a 3-1 lead.

Polanco and Kepler had RBI doubles in the fifth to tie it at 3.

RBI RECORD

Kepler’s double made him the fifth Twins player with at least 20 RBIs in August, the first time that has happened in team history. Rosario (25), Byron Buxton (22), Polanco (22) and Brian Dozier (22) have also reached the mark.

TRAINER’S ROOM

White Sox: 1B Jose Abreu (sore elbow) and SS Tim Anderson (hamstring tweak) missed the game. Both may return Friday.

Twins: Fearing a hamate injury that could have ended his season, an MRI on Buxton’s left hand showed a bone contusion. He didn’t start in CF. … 3B Miguel Sano, out since Aug. 19 with a left shin injury, was to undergo more tests Thursday. . RHP Adalberto Mejia (left arm strain) allowed two hits in three innings at Triple-A Rochester Wednesday. He’s scheduled to start there again Monday and throw 50-60 pitches.

UP NEXT

White Sox: Reynaldo Lopez (0-1, 6.97) is expected to come off the 10-day disabled list (back strain) when Chicago opens a 10-game homestand Friday against Tampa Bay. Blake Snell will start for the Rays (2-6, 4.29).

Twins: Dillon Gee (1-1, 3.53) gets the call for Minnesota against Kansas City’s Jason Hammel (6-10, 4.76) in Friday’s first game of a weekend series.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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