CHICAGO — Royce Lewis set a franchise record with his fourth grand slam of the season in the Minnesota Twins’ 10-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Matt Wallner, Max Kepler, Willi Castro and Ryan Jeffers added RBI singles to help the Twins (78-70) maintain their eight-game lead in the AL Central over the Cleveland Guardians.
Minnesota got to Chicago early with help from Lewis in the second inning. The Twins loaded the bases with two outs before the rookie followed with a homer to left field for a 4-0 lead.
Lewis, who entered Friday hitting .323 over his last 45 games, has five grand slams in 66 career games.
“I’m absolutely amazed,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I’ve never seen anyone do anything like this in my life on any level … high school, college or anything. I’ve never seen anyone do that.”
Lewis deflected the spotlight when asked about his new place in Twins history.
“I think about the wins that come with (setting the record),” Lewis said. “It seems like every time I hit one we’ve won the game so hopefully we can keep doing that and have some other guys hit some too which would be great.”
Bailey Ober (7-6) was recalled from Triple-A St. Paul on Thursday and made his first start since Aug. 27. He went five innings and gave up two runs on five hits. He shut down the White Sox (56-92) until Elvis Andrus drove in Gavin Sheets with a two-run blast in the fifth.
Ober won for the first time since July 18 when he pitched six innings against the Seattle Mariners.
“Just dialed it in a little bit and and just tried to be more fine with it the last two outings,” Ober said. “I feel like my mentality the last two outings was attack these guys and make them swing the bat and whatever happens, happens. Felt good the last two outings and hopefully I can keep going like that.”
Wallner extended Minnesota’s lead in the third when shortstop Tim Anderson overran a fly ball to left field and it dropped behind him. It allowed Carlos Correa to score and gave the Twins a 5-0 lead. Kepler followed with an RBI single in the fourth to make it 6-0.
The Twins tacked on four more runs off in the ninth off reliever Michael Koepech. Correa hit an RBI double before Castro hit an RBI single that hit Koepech. Jeffers drove in the Twins’ final two runs with a single to left field to make it 10-2.
White Sox starter Jesse Scholtens (1-9) pitched four innings and gave up six runs (five earned) on seven hits and three walks. He has lost seven straight decisions.
“It’s frustrating,” Scholtens said. “I know I am better than the guy that has been going out there so it’s very frustrating. Stuff-wise, I thought it was fairly decent tonight. (I) put myself in a tough spot like I did in that second inning and these guys are too good to be doing that.
“It’s frustrating and just not happy with what I have been putting out there.”
The White Sox, who only had one runner in scoring position Friday, have lost 11 of their last 14 games and are 36 games below .500.
Twins: Baldelli said OF Michael A. Taylor (hamstring) could play right now but is being cautious after the outfielder landed on the 10-day injured list on Sept. 3.
White Sox: Manager Pedro Grifol said there’s a possibility LHP Garrett Crochet (left shoulder inflammation) could play again this season. The southpaw has been out since June 17 and threw a scoreless inning in a rehab assignment with Double-A Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday night.
LHP Pablo Lopez (10-7, 3.43 ERA) is slated to start for Minnesota on Saturday. RHP Touki Toussaint (3-7, 5.65) is Chicago’s probable starter.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb