Byron Buxton breaks out of slump with two home runs in Twins’ 9-4 win over White Sox

22 July 2023

The Twins gave Byron Buxton two games off earlier this week to let him reset. They slid him down in the lineup, dropping him to sixth on Friday. The designated hitter, who likes to work inside in the batting cage, took the rare step of taking batting practice on the field in Seattle, as he worked on making some adjustments.

So when he unleashed on a first-pitch fastball from Lance Lynn in the first inning on Friday, it sure seemed like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Buxton let out a loud yell after snapping his 0-for-26 skid — 16 of those outs were strikeouts — with a three-run home run before firing up the Buck Truck, his signature celebration.

As a follow-up act, Buxton took a Lynn slider out in the fourth inning, the two blasts helping propel the Twins to a 9-4 win over the Chicago White Sox at Target Field.

Buxton’s breakout was a long-awaited, welcomed sight for the Twins (51-48), but it was far from the only standout offensive performance on a night where the Twins’ bench was thin — both Willi Castro and Joey Gallo were scratched from the lineup because of pink eye.

Second baseman Edouard Julien continued his second-half tear by collecting the Twins’ first hit of the day, setting the stage for a five-run first inning. Julien, who extended his hitting streak to nine games, was on base three times on Friday.

Alex Kirilloff, also in the midst of a hot stretch, followed that up with a two-run home run off Lynn to give the Twins the lead. Kirilloff would tack on another couple of runs in the seventh inning, adding a double, which brought home Carlos Correa and Julien and extended the Twins’ lead to five runs.

Starter Joe Ryan, who started the night by surrendering a first-pitch home run to Andrew Benintendi, settled in after that, retiring 11 of the next 12 batters. He went six innings in his start, giving up a run in the fifth and a two-run home run to Yasmani Grandal in his final inning of work that pulled the White Sox (41-58) within three at the time.

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