MLB: Twins’ Christian Vazquez aims to ride momentum into matchup vs. White Sox

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Minnesota Twins catcher Christian Vazquez is batting just .204 entering Monday night’s three-game series opener against the host Chicago White Sox, but recent success has brightened his spirits.

Vazquez hit a walk-off home run in the ninth inning against Houston Astros closer Josh Hader on Sunday and has three straight multi-hit games to open July.

“The game is so hard, and you never can stop working, and I think that’s where I’m at right now,” Vazquez said. “I feel good. My swing feels very good. … I had a couple months of struggling, the first two, and I feel like right now is the old Vazquez everybody knows.”

Series victories have become familiar to the Twins, who have captured their past five sets.

While the contributions from Vazquez are something new for the moment, teammate Jose Miranda has clicked more consistently.

Miranda contributed a pinch-hit single in the seventh inning on Sunday, giving him a hit in 13 of his past 14 at-bats.

Minnesota escaped an injury scare after shortstop Carlos Correa left Sunday’s game in the first inning after a pitch hit him on the right hand. The Twins said Correa suffered a finger contusion.

Correa told reporters after the game that he plans to be in the lineup against the White Sox, who have the worst record in the major leagues at 26-66.

Trying to win a road series for the first time since May 3-5 against the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago squandered leads to lose the final two games of its three-game weekend set in Miami.

Sunday’s setback was especially jarring. Ahead 4-1 after six innings, Chicago allowed two runs in the seventh and four in the ninth to fall 7-4. Marlins third baseman Jake Burger, formerly of the White Sox, drilled a walk-off, three-run home run against Michael Kopech.

Chicago had the Marlins down to their final strike two batters earlier, but Josh Bell connected for a game-tying RBI double.

“I mean this one stings, obviously,” Chicago right-hander Jonathan Cannon said. “It’s just baseball. Just part of it, unfortunately. I thought we played a good game (Sunday), but it just is what it is.”

The White Sox have lost five of their past seven games.

Right-hander Chris Flexen (2-7, 5.08 ERA) will start for the White Sox on Monday as he aims for his first victory since May 8, when he beat the Tampa Bay Rays.

Flexen took a no-decision against the Cleveland Guardians last Tuesday in his most recent start, giving up six runs (three earned) and six hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out three in Chicago’s 7-6 loss.

Monday will mark Flexen’s third appearance and second start against the Twins this season. He has pitched to a 3.68 ERA with four strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings vs. Minnesota in 2024.

Flexen is 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA in six career appearances (five starts) against Minnesota.

Right-hander Chris Paddack gets the start for Minnesota. Paddack, reinstated from the injured list earlier Monday, is 5-3 with a 5.29 ERA in 15 starts this season. The Twins are 7-0 against the White Sox this season, with five games decided by three runs or fewer.

The Twins’ most recent victory over Chicago came on May 1, a 10-5 decision.

–Field Level Media

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