Cease comes within 1 out of no-hitter, White Sox rout Twins

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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CHICAGO – Dylan Cease had fans on their feet, hoping he would get that final out and complete the no-hitter.

The White Sox’s ace would have loved nothing more than to deliver. Instead, his bid ended just a little short.

Cease came within one out of his first career no-hitter, and the streaking Chicago White Sox pounded the Minnesota Twins 13-0 on Saturday night.

Cease got a huge ovation when he came out to start the ninth. With fans standing, he struck out Caleb Hamilton swinging on a 1-2 slider and retired Gilberto Celestino on a fly to center.

Luis Arraez, who leads the American League with a .318 average, then dumped a line-drive single into right-center on a 1-1 pitch, ending Cease’s bid for Chicago’s third no-hitter in as many years. Lucas Giolito tossed one against Pittsburgh in 2020, and Carlos Rodon did it against Cleveland on April 14, 2021.

“Obviously, it’s disappointing,” Cease said. “But that’s the game.”

After a meeting on the mound, Cease struck out Kyle Garlick to finish his first career nine-inning complete game. He threw a seven-inning shutout against Detroit in 2021.

Teammates lined up outside the dugout and high-fived Cease as he walked off. Fans chanted “Cease! Cease!” during a TV interview and showered him with more cheers as he left.

“It would have meant a lot,” Cease said. “It’s obviously an incredibly difficult feat to achieve. It definitely would have meant a lot.”

Cease said he didn’t feel he had his sharpest stuff in the early going. He didn’t strike out anyone until the fifth inning, but wound up with seven in the game. The right-hander threw 103 pitches, 68 for strikes.

Cease walked Jake Cave in the third and Gilberto Celestino in the sixth for Minnesota’s only other baserunners. Cave was erased when Gary Sanchez bounced into a double play. Celestino was stranded when Cease struck out Arraez.

Catcher Seby Zavala said he started thinking about a no-hitter in the third inning.

“I started counting outs,” he said. “I felt like we had something going on.”

Minnesota’s Gio Urshela said Arraez was just the person to break up the bid.

“Yeah, he’s the perfect guy for that situation if you want to break a no-hitter,” he said. “That was the perfect guy for that.”

WHITE SOX ROLL

Eloy Jimenez, Romy Gonzalez and Elvis Andrus homered as the White Sox rolled to their fourth straight win after losing 10 of 12. The defending AL Central champions moved within two games of division leader Cleveland and one of second-place Minnesota.

“Obviously, this shows how much fight we still have in us,” Cease said.

Jimenez connected for a three-run shot in the first against Tyler Mahle (6-8). Gonzalez added his first career homer in the fourth, a three-run shot off Aaron Sanchez. Elvis Andrus tacked on a grand slam against position player Nick Gordon in the eighth.

Following his memorable drive, Gonzalez had a big grin as he bumped forearms with Josh Harrison after crossing the plate and traded high fives with teammates in the dugout.

Chicago is 4-1 with bench coach Miguel Cairo filling in for ailing manager Tony La Russa. The Hall of Fame skipper is in Arizona tending to an unspecified medical condition.

TWINS STUMBLE

The Twins lost their third straight after winning five in a row. They also dropped their seventh consecutive road game.

Mahle lasted two innings in his first start since Aug. 17. The right-hander exited because of inflammation in his right shoulder – the same injury that had sidelined him.

TRANSACTION

The Twins optioned left-hander Jovani Moran to Triple-A St. Paul to make room for Mahle.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: RHP Sonny Gray said he was feeling better, though still experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring after exiting Friday’s start. He is scheduled to pitch Wednesday, when the Twins visit the New York Yankees.

White Sox: Cairo said CF Luis Robert was expected to rejoin the team in time for Sunday’s game after traveling to Florida for the birth of his second child – a boy. Robert has been used as a pinch runner and defensive replacement lately while recovering from a sore left wrist. … Cairo said he hopes RHP Michael Kopech (strained left knee) returns during the team’s seven-game trip to Seattle and Oakland that starts Monday. … Cairo also said 3B Yoan Moncada (strained left hamstring) is just about ready to return. He is eligible to be reinstated from the 10-day injured list on Monday.

UP NEXT

The series wraps up with White Sox RHP Lucas Giolito (10-8, 5.27 ERA) opposing Minnesota RHP Dylan Bundy (7-6, 4.53 ERA). Giolito is 1-2 with a 7.98 ERA in his past three starts. Bundy has dominated the White Sox, with a career 6-0 record and 3.47 ERA in eight starts and nine appearances. He is 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA in three starts against them this year.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.