Andrew Benintendi was the difference maker with the glove and bat Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Chicago White Sox left fielder robbed Carlos Correa of a home run in the first inning.
And Benintendi came through at the plate in the 10th, driving in Hanser Alberto with a single to left to give the Sox a 3-2 victory against the Minnesota Twins in front of 13,094.
“We’re not going to really appreciate everything he can do until Game 162, and then everyone’s going to see how much he really brings to the table,” Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “Among all the baseball things he did (Tuesday), he played hurt. He got hit by a pitch (Friday) and his (right) arm, he’s still not 100%. He’s not even close.
“He goes out to make that play in left field and that’s the arm that he got hit on, so right away that sent a jolt through that arm. I’ve been around him. I know him. He’s a gamer, he’s a winner. I wouldn’t expect anything less from him than that last at-bat right there.”
Benintendi’s hit gave the Sox back-to-back walk-off wins for the first time since May 1-2, 2019. And for the first time this season, the Sox have won two straight games.
“Walk-offs are always fun regardless of the time, but definitely glad to be on this side and get our first two games back to back of the season,” Benintendi said. “We are just going a day at a time now and take it slow and play well.
“If you look any further than that, you are going to put yourself in less of a good situation. So just focus on one day at a time and try to win each day and hopefully that amounts to a good streak.”
Sox starter Michael Kopech said Benintendi set the tone with his catch in the first.
“It was up there for a long time, so it gave me time to get over there and kind of time up my jump,” Benintendi said. “It was one of those perfect ones you practice all the time growing up. Glad I could make the catch.”
Kopech rolled from there, pitching six solid innings. The right-hander allowed one run on one hit with seven strikeouts and five walks.
“The main thing is we talked about mixing up pitches a little bit better,” Kopech said. “(Catcher Yasmani Grandal) did a really good job with game calling. Showing I could use all four (pitches Tuesday) is going to be big for me moving forward.
“One of the bigger takeaways is I have to eliminate walks. Fortunately we were able to limit damage and keep us in the game.”
Kopech carried a no-hitter into the sixth before Byron Buxton singled with one out. Two walks and a sacrifice fly followed. But Kopech held the Twins to just the one run.
Twins starter Joe Ryan also allowed just one hit, a single by Gavin Sheets in the second, in six innings. He struck out seven and walked two.
The Sox got to Minnesota’s bullpen in the seventh. Andrew Vaughn singled and Eloy Jiménez hit a two-run homer against Jorge López.
The Twins tied the game in the eighth on Nick Gordon’s solo homer off Alexander Colomé.
Sox relievers Keynan Middleton and Jimmy Lambert performed well in big spots, with Lambert striking out Buxton with a runner on third to end the 10th.
Benintendi came up with two outs and Alberto on third. Battling lefty Caleb Thielbar, the left-handed-hitting Benintendi sliced the game-winning hit to left.
“Just (looking for) something to put in play, honestly,” Benintendi said. “I’ve had some at-bats off him in the past, and he’s gotten me and I’ve gotten him a couple of times. It’s that back-and-forth game that’s fun.
“I was just trying to put it in play and put a good swing on something. At the worst make them make a play.”
It turned out for the best for the Sox.
“Great ballgame,” Grifol said. “Anytime you have a chance to win a couple in a row, you start building a little momentum, but I’m not getting too far ahead. I’m going to stay on (Wednesday’s) game and get ready for (Wednesday).
“We dug ourselves a hole (9-21) and now we probably are going to have to take our time to get back to where we want to be. I’m not going to let anyone get too far ahead. We’ve got to be ready to play (Wednesday).”