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Giolito fires back at Donaldson, White Sox beat Twins 7-6

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Chicago White Sox's Gavin Sheets watches his first major league hit, a single off Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Kenta Maeda, during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO – Lucas Giolito heard what Josh Donaldson said, and he was none too pleased.

The ace right-hander had something to say, too.

Giolito lobbed an expletive-laced response in Donaldson's direction after the slugger appeared to yell “Not sticky anymore” after a first-inning homer, overshadowing Gavin Sheets' successful big league debut for the Chicago White Sox in a 7-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.

Giolito (6-5) pitched six-plus innings of three-run ball in his first win in a month. But it was his postgame message that will live on long after anything that happened in his 100th career start.

Giolito surrendered a two-run drive to Donaldson on his fifth pitch. Donaldson’s apparent comment came as he rubbed his hands together while making his way to the Twins’ dugout after his 12th homer.

Donaldson has been one of baseball’s most outspoken sluggers when it comes to pitchers using sticky substances, something the league recently started cracking down on.

“I saw it after the fact. He’s a (expletive) pest," Giolito said. “That’s kind of a classless move.”

Giolito said if Donaldson wants to talk, he should talk to the pitcher's face.

"Don’t go across home plate and do all that, just come to me,” he said.

Donaldson was not made available to the media after the game.

Sheets had two hits and two RBIs, helping Chicago increase its AL Central lead to 2 1/2 games over Cleveland. The White Sox had dropped seven of nine.

The Twins scored three times in the seventh, including RBI doubles by Nelson Cruz and Max Kepler, and then pulled within one on Jorge Polanco’s run-scoring groundout in the ninth.

But Liam Hendriks earned his 21st save when he retired Alex Kirilloff on a fly ball to center, stranding a runner at third.

“The guys kept fighting. I mean we fought all the way through the game,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Nothing came easy.”

The Twins had won seven of nine overall. But they dropped to 1-6 against the White Sox this year.

Sheets, the son of former big league outfielder Larry Sheets, lined an opposite-field single to left in the second for his first hit. He tied it at 2 when he drove in a run with an infield out that went off the glove of Kenta Maeda (3-3) in the third.

The White Sox opened a 7-2 lead with four runs in the fifth. Sheets had a bloop RBI double, and Leury García followed with a sacrifice fly. Danny Mendick and Tim Anderson capped the inning with run-scoring singles.

“It was a fantastic night,” Sheets said. “And to get the W in the end, a close game, was awesome.”

Maeda was charged with seven runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He issued five walks, matching a career high, and struck out four.

“I definitely did not have my command tonight and that’s something to be reflected (on) and something to fix the next outing,” Maeda said through a translator.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: 2B Jorge Polanco was shaken up after he was caught stealing in the fifth, colliding with SS Anderson at second base. But Polanco stayed in the game. ... Baldelli said C Mitch Garver (groin contusion) could return around the All-Star break. Garver hasn't played since he left a June 1 game at Baltimore following a first-inning foul tip. Baldelli said they will be conservative in bringing Garver back. “Some of this is stuff that we do need to make sure for his quality of life going forward and his general health, we do need to make sure he is completely healed up before we start any strenuous baseball activity,” Baldelli said. ... RHP Michael Pineda (elbow inflammation) is scheduled for a rehab start with Triple-A St. Paul on Thursday.

White Sox: 3B Yoán Moncada was out of the starting lineup because of a “barking” right shoulder, manager Tony La Russa said. ... RH reliever Evan Marshall departed with a forearm injury in the seventh. ... CF Luis Robert has been cleared to increase his level of baseball activities at the team’s complex in Arizona. Robert tore his right hip flexor on May 2. ... OF Jake Lamb (strained right quadriceps) was placed on the 10-day injured list, and OF Billy Hamilton was reinstated from the IL. Hamilton had been sidelined by a strained right oblique. ... RHP Michael Kopech (strained left hamstring) threw a simulated game on Monday, and the team said it went well.

UP NEXT

Right-handers Bailey Ober (0-0, 4.64 ERA) and Dylan Cease (6-3, 3.81 ERA) pitch on Wednesday night. Ober made his big league debut against the White Sox on May 18, allowing four runs in four innings. Cease is 0-2 with a 9.18 ERA in four career starts versus the Twins.

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Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap

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