CHICAGO — Sonny Gray was unhappy with his performance the last time out. He didn’t throw enough strikes, he said, he was constantly behind in the count and it all led to an earlier than usual exit for him.
But there was little to find flaw with on Sunday when Gray responded with seven shutout innings to lead the Twins to a 4-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox in the series finale at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Gray allowed five hits in his start, including a pair of leadoff doubles. He stranded both of those runners on third base. The Twins’ starting pitcher did not allow a walk in his seven innings of work, and was highly efficient, needing just 81 pitches.
Gray received all the run support he needed from one swing of Edouard Julien’s bat. The rookie blasted his 14th home run of the season and third in his past six games off White Sox starter Dylan Cease in the fifth inning.
The opposite-field blast, which came after a Ryan Jeffers single and Kyle Farmer walk, was all the offense the Twins mustered against Cease in his six innings on the mound. Second baseman Jorge Polanco tacked on the Twins’ fourth run of the game in the eighth inning with a leadoff home run, his 13th homer of the season.
With the win, the Twins moved their magic number to clinch the AL Central division down to six games.