CHICAGO (AP) — Sonny Gray closed on Gerrit Cole for the AL ERA lead, Edouard Julien and Jorge Polanco homered and the AL Central-leading Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 4-0 on Sunday.
Minnesota (79-71), nearing its third division title in five seasons, leads second-place Cleveland (72-78) by seven games with 12 games remaining.
Gray (8-7) lowered his ERA from 2.96 to 2.84, just behind Cole, who leads the AL at 2.81 for the New York Yankees. Gray gave up five hits in seven innings, struck out six and walked none, ending a three-start winless streak.
“That was a good way to finish the series,” acting manager Jayce Tingler said after the Twins took three of four from Chicago. “Sonny kind of came out from the get-go and set the tone.”
Twins third base coach Tommy Watkins had to dive, sending his helmet rolling, to avoid Ryan Jeffers’ foul liner in the second. He wasn’t hurt.
Bench coach Tingler was Minnesota’s acting manager while Rocco Baldelli is away, awaiting the birth of twins.
Former manager Tony La Russa, Hall of Fame DH Harold Baines and utility player Ron Kittle were on the field before the game as the White Sox celebrated the 40th anniversary of its 1983 AL West title. Chicago wore 1983 throwback uniforms, as it has done for all Sunday home games this year.
Twins: OF Michael Taylor (right hamstring strain) could be activated from the 10-day injured list as early as Monday’s series opener at Cincinnati, Tingler said. … OF Max Kepler sat out to rest.