CHICAGO — If not for Luis Arraez on what was to be the final out of the game, the Twins would have suffered their 10th time being no-hit in Twins-Senators history.
The batting title leader hit a line drive to right field with two outs in the top of the ninth to hold White Sox starter Dylan Cease to a one-hitter. Cease then struck out Kyle Garlick to solidify his team's 13-0 victory.
If the no hitter had held, it would have been the first the Twins experienced since the Angels' Jered Weaver did so against them on May 3, 2012. It would have been Cease's first no-hitter and the third in 2022 so far. The Mets and Astros threw combined no hitters in April and June, while Reid Detmers accomplished his solo effort with a 12-0 result against Tampa Bay back on May 10.
The 26-year-old Cease is a former sixth-round pick from the 2014 draft who came to the White Sox from the Cubs in a 2017 trade. The righty debuted in 2019 and is having the best season of his career. Entering Saturday's game, he had a 2.27 ERA and now has a 13-6 record through 27 starts.
On Saturday, he collected seven strikeouts with two walks in his nine innings. The 31,655 fans at Guaranteed Rate Field grew louder and louder as the evening went on and the no-hitter continued. The White Sox players started skipping off the field after the final out in the seventh inning, hyped from the potential history in the making.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli made several changes as a way to try to spur his lineup to a hit. He took Carlos Correa and Max Kepler out in the bottom of the fifth inning — his No. 2 and No. 3 batters in the order — and replaced them with Jermaine Palacios and Garlick. But they both came up for their first at-bats in the seventh inning and struck out.
Caleb Hamilton replaced Gary Sanchez in the eighth spot in the bottom of the seventh and struck out in the ninth.
The only Twins to reach base all night were Jake Cave and Gilberto Celestino, who drew walks from Cease in the third and sixth innings, respectively. But neither made it past that.
The Twins' pitching situation could not have been more opposite from the clinic Cease displayed. Tyler Mahle, making his first start since coming off the injured list with right shoulder fatigue, last just two innings. He gave up four consecutive hits to start the first inning, including a three-run homer for Eloy Jimenez, that put the Twins down 4-0 early.
Mahle left his third start for the Twins on Aug. 17 early when his velocity dipped into the 80s and his shoulder grew fatigued. That same issue plagued him again by the second inning, and the Twins pulled him with right shoulder inflammation.
Aaron Sanchez, whom the Twins had relied on to start in Mahle's place while he was out, pitched five innings and gave up all his runs and hits in the fourth, the damage coming from Romy Gonzalez' three-run homer.
Rather than use more bullpen arms with the Twins already down 7-0, Baldelli put second baseman Nick Gordon on the mound and moved Arraez to second base in the bottom of the eighth.
That worked about as well as one would have expected. Gordon walked the first two batters, gave up a two-RBI single to Seby Zavala and a grand slam to Elvis Andrus before he switched to shortstop and Palacios pitched the final hitter for a strikeout.
The Twins fell to 67-64, still in second in the American League Central, while Chicago improved to 67-66 and gained a game on them in third.