2.) July 19th vs. Twins
Gavin Sheets walk-off home run in the seventh inning (5-3)
Gavin Sheets was a huge addition to the Chicago White Sox during the season.
If people didn’t like Gavin Sheets before, this game made him an instant fan favorite. On July 16th, the White Sox played a doubleheader against their division rivals from Minnesota. These two teams had real beef during the 2021 season.
Between Yermin Mercedes hitting a home run on a 3-0 pitch during a blowout, the Twins throwing at Mercedes, Josh Donaldson accusing Lucas Giolito of cheating, and the war of words that followed, there was no love lost between the two sides. The White Sox were in real danger of getting swept in this twin-bill in their ballpark.
The White Sox dropped the first game of the doubleheader against the Twins in agonizing fashion. After leading 1-0, they coughed up the lead in the sixth inning. They would eventually fall 3-2 in extra’s after Gavin Sheets struck out with a runner on second base then Adam Engel popped out to end the game.
In the second game, the White Sox trotted out Reynaldo Lopez as an opener for his first appearance of the season. On the bump for the Twins was Jose Berrios. The pitching matchup was a clear mismatch. Josh Donaldson capitalized on a Lopez error in the first inning and drove in a run on a sacrifice fly.
Jose Abreu hit a home run to center field to tie the game at one in the bottom half of the inning. Mitch Garver grabbed the lead back with a solo home run off Lopez in the second inning then hit another one in the fifth inning to give the Twins a 3-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Berrios was dealing. He carried the 3-1 lead into the sixth inning. Yoan Moncada kept the White Sox hopes alive with a two-out home run in the bottom of the sixth to bring the game within one run. Despite Moncada’s efforts, the White Sox had just an 18.9% chance of winning heading into the final inning.
Berrios looked to complete the seven-inning complete game but ran into some trouble with three outs to go. Brain Goodwin led off the final frame with a single. Then Andrew Vaughn got hit by a pitch bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. That run was represented by Gavin Sheets.
Berrios had dominated Sheets all evening. Sheets accounted for two of Berrios’ nine strikeouts. He even had the Twins broadcasters saying that the everlasting memory of Sheets would be looking baffled by a changeup for strike three back in the fifth inning.
Sheets job was made easier when Berrios threw a wild pitch putting a runner 90 feet from the home and the tying run in scoring position. But after a frustrating afternoon that included three strikeouts, Sheets wasn’t interested in a tie. He wanted to put the Twins to bed. Berrios threw him a 3-1 fastball that and Sheets made him pay by connecting on a 390 foot home run into the right-field stands.
Music blared over the speakers as fireworks shot off to celebrate an electrifying comeback. It was Sheets’s first career walk-off home run and more importantly salvaged a doubleheader split against the bitter rival.