Trio of HRs help Twins maintain 2nd Wild Card

Trio of HRs help Twins maintain 2nd Wild Card

CHICAGO -- Jorge Polanco, Kennys Vargas and Eddie Rosario homered to back a strong effort from right-hander Kyle Gibson and carry the Twins to a 4-1 win over the White Sox on Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. It helped the Twins remain in the second AL Wild Card spot ahead of the Angels.

Rookie Lucas Giolito, acquired in the trade that sent Adam Eaton to the Nationals, made his first start for the White Sox, allowing four runs on six hits with four strikeouts to get pegged with the loss. Of his 99 pitches, 69 were fastballs and he got eight swing-and-misses on those pitches, with his fastball topping out at 95.8 mph.

"I was able to throw a few over the plate for the strike but I was trying to throw that good two-strike [curveball] I was spiking it a lot," Giolito said. "I'm just going to work on that for the next one.

"I was essentially pitching with only fastball a lot of the time just trying to move it to both sides of the plate, pitch up when need be and for the most part we were able to do that. Just can't leave it over the middle."

Giolito K's Castro in the 2nd

Giolito -- the White Sox No. 6 prospect and No. 59 prospect on MLB -- was hurt by home runs, serving up a solo shot to Polanco in the fourth, a solo blast to Vargas in the fifth and a two-run homer to Rosario in the sixth. It was the third straight game with a homer for Polanco.

Polanco's solo home run

The offense helped Gibson, who allowed one run on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out a season-high eight batters and reached the seven-inning mark for the first time since July 22.

"I'm really happy for him," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Gibson. "I can't imagine some of the things swirling in his head before this start. But he found a way to go out there and not only [had] an outing where he got us a win, but he got us through an inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. He has to feel good about that."

Gibson's strong performance

Gibson's magic acts: The White Sox loaded the bases in both the second and third innings, but couldn't score, with Gibson using critical strikeouts to his advantage. Chicago had the bases full with one out in the second, but Gibson struck out Adam Engel and got Leury Garcia to ground to second. It was an even more dire situation in the third with the bases loaded and nobody out, but he struck Avisail Garcia, Yolmer Sanchez and Tim Anderson to escape the jam. More >

"It was a tough spot obviously," Gibson said. "You just have to execute pitches and go one out at a time. Obviously, I'd like to get a ground ball for two outs for more wriggle room. Who would've thought I would strike out the side to get out of it? Probably nobody."

Gibson evades trouble

"We had two innings in which we had a great opportunity to try to open up that ballgame and maybe the outcome would have been a little different and looked a little different for [Giolito]," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said.

Vargas smacks go-ahead blast: Vargas was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Monday when Miguel Sano went on the 10-day disabled list, and promptly made his mark with his ninth homer of the year and his first since July 16. It gave the Twins their first lead of the game.

"He threw me two offspeeds in a row so I was expecting fastball," Vargas said of his homer, which came on a 0-2 four-seamer. "They were throwing me a lot of inside fastballs so I was expecting it."

"All three homers were fastballs," Giolito said. "I think all three I was trying to go in and I missed right over the middle and guys are going to hit a long way if you miss your spot. That's going to happen."

Vargas' solo home run

"He did a pretty good job. We just made two mistakes that changed the whole game. But he had really good stuff. I think he's going to be one of our best pitchers. His fastball is kind of sneaky and he has a great changeup. He uses it whenever he wants to and he has a really, really good curveball." -- White Sox catcher Omar Narvaez, on Giolito

Giolito became the first White Sox pitcher to not walk a batter and go six or more innings in his team debut since Orlando Hernandez on April 8, 2005 against the Twins. More >

Rick Renteria on loss to Twins

Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana (13-7, 3.33 ERA) is set to start for the Twins in the fourth game of the five-game series on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Santana is coming off a win over the D-backs, allowing three runs over six innings. The Twins haven't lost a game he's started in August.

White Sox: James Shields (2-4, 5.72 ERA) will start for the White Sox on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT against Minnesota. Shields allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings against Texas in his last start after working consecutive quality starts in his previous two outings.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for based in Chicago.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.