The Twins’ offense sends the White Sox to an opening night loss

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JULY 24: Max Kepler #26 of the Minnesota Twins hits his second home run of the the game, a solo shot in the 2nd inning, against the Chicago White Sox during the Opening Day game at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 24, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The 2020 season had been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – It was a night to signal the start of a new era of the franchise, but some elements of 2019 crept into the White Sox 2020 opener.

Once again, the team showed great resolve in rallying from an early deficit, as the “Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit” mantra remains strong with the group.

But another thing also happened – the Twins offense reigned supreme over the course of nine innings on the south side. Just as they did in a 101-win season in 2019, Minnesota slugged their way to an opening night victory.

A four-run first inning against Lucas Giolito had the White Sox on the chase from the start, and while they caught the Twins in the second, their opponents had more at the finish. Minnesota scored five unanswered runs to send the White Sox to a 10-5 defeat in an empty Guaranteed Rate Field.

The defending American League Central champions sent a message to the young upstarts in the first of a 60-game sprint of a 2020 season.

Max Kepler helped to do so from the start, as he took Giolito’s first-ever opening day pitch into the right field seats for the solo homer. The Twins would get four runs in that inning as Giolito walked two and gave up three hits.

Kepler would strike again in the second with another homer that erased a tally by the White Sox in the bottom of the first and pushed the lead back to four.

Yet the White Sox showed their resilience, rallying back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game. Yoan Moncada’s three-run homer charged up the White Sox spirits and set the tone for an offensive evening.

The problem was, it wasn’t theirs that would shine.

Minnesota loaded the bases on Giolito in the fourth, forcing him out of the game, and Evan Marshall gave up a two-run single to Jorge Polanco to put the Twins up 7-5. Three more runs in the seventh would make it 10-5.

Meanwhile, the White Sox couldn’t get anything going on offense, getting shutout in the final seven innings. Moncada did finish with three hits while Luis Robert got his first major league hit and a double in the contest.

Those were positives in an otherwise letdown of an opener that felt eerily like one from 2019.

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