Buxton sparks rally in ninth as Twins top White Sox, win eighth straight

CHICAGO — Byron Buxton whipped a first-pitch slider down the left-field line in the top of the ninth inning and he thought about trying to stretch his double into a triple before stopping about 20 feet past the second-base bag.

It was only the Twins' third hit Monday, so there was a natural urge to try to create more offense.

Instead, Buxton let Max Kepler do the heavy lifting. Kepler lined a two-strike single into right field against Chicago White Sox reliever John Brebbia, and Buxton scored easily from second base. Buxton clapped twice after he touched home plate, then pointed to Kepler. Then more claps from Buxton as he walked toward the dugout.

The Twins didn't have the offensive explosion that defined the franchise's longest winning streak in 13 seasons, but they did just enough to squeak past the White Sox for a 3-2 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field for their eighth straight win. It's the first time the Twins won eight consecutive games since June 11-21, 2011.

Caleb Thielbar navigated around a one-out walk and a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning to secure his third career save.

The Twins managed only two hits against White Sox lefty Garrett Crochet, a pitcher they scored five runs against last week. One of the hits was a game-tying, two-run homer from Carlos Santana in the second inning, Santana's fourth home run in the last five games.

After Manuel Margot drew a walk, giving the Twins their first baserunner, Santana launched a first-pitch slider over the wall in left field. The 392-foot blast was a no-doubter when the ball left Santana's bat, and he was passed the Rally Sausage in front of the dugout as a reward.

Willi Castro reached on an infield single after Santana's homer, but Crochet put down the next 11 Twins batters in order with only one ball leaving the infield.

The Twins put two runners on base in the sixth inning — two walks — and Christian Vázquez reached on an error in the seventh inning, but the Twins were hitless in their first five at-bats with a runner in scoring position. They snapped their seven-game streak with at least 10 hits, the franchise's longest streak with a double-digit hit total since July 14-21, 2006.

It was the second time this month Joe Ryan faced the same team in back-to-back starts. Once again, he was effective, scattering six hits and two runs across six innings.

BOXSCORE: Twins 3, White Sox 2

Things didn't start well for Ryan. He surrendered hits to his first three batters, including an RBI double to Andrew Vaughn on his eighth pitch of the evening. A run scored when he induced a double play against Eloy Jiménez and that seemingly helped him find his form.

Following the first three hits, Ryan didn't allow another runner to reach third base. He struck out a season-low three batters, matching his lowest total in a start since June 26, 2022, but he consistently worked ahead in counts. He threw a first-pitch strike to 18 of his 23 batters.

The White Sox had two runners on base with one out against Ryan in the fourth inning, after back-to-back singles from Andrew Benintendi and Danny Mendick, but Ryan escaped with a shallow fly ball to left field and a strikeout. Ryan retired his final eight batters, ending his outing with a five-pitch sixth inning.

Twins reliever Griffin Jax stranded two runners in the eighth inning, permitting a leadoff single to Korey Lee, the No. 9 batter, and a two-out walk to Gavin Sheets. Jax struck out Jiménez with a changeup to pitch out of the jam, taking a hop-step off the mound to celebrate before returning to the dugout.