CHICAGO (AP) — Luis Arraez won the AL batting title, hitting a third-inning double after walking twice to finish the season at .316, and the Minnesota Twins rolled to a 10-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
Arraez was all but assured of topping the Yankees' Aaron Judge for the batting crown when the day began. He removed any doubt by walking in his first two plate appearances and then hitting a drive that barely cleared the glove of right fielder Gavin Sheets before he was lifted for a pinch-runner.
Judge, who sat out the Yankees' season finale, batted .311 with an AL-record 62 homers and a league-leading 131 RBIs.
Gary Sanchez and Jermaine Palacios homered during a six-run first inning for Minnesota, which snapped a four-game skid. The Twins finished at 78-84, a six-game improvement over 2021.
The White Sox (81-81), last year's AL Central champions, had their three-game winning streak snapped and finished 12 games worse than their 2021 record.
The 25-year-old Arraez became the fifth Twin to win a batting title, joining joining Rod Carew (seven), Tony Oliva, Joe Mauer (three apiece) and Kirby Puckett (one).
Arraez received a hug at the top of the dugout steps from Carlos Correa, who planned before the game to give him a Louis Vuitton box in recognition of his achievement.
Arraez batted .361 (13 for 36) during a nine-game hitting streak to end the season.
Sanchez hit his 16th homer, a three-run shot, off Chicago starter Davis Martin (3-6), and he added an RBI double during a three-run second. Palacios hit his second homer in as many games, a two-run shot. Davis was charged with nine runs in 2 2/3 innings and was pulled due to right biceps soreness.
Louie Varland (1-2) allowed four hits in five scoreless innings in his fifth major league start. The 24-year-old struck out five and didn't allow a walk. Josh Harrison was the only Chicago batter to reach second base against Varland as he led off the second with a double. Varland rebounded by striking out Mark Payton, Romy Gonzalez and Adam Engel in succession.
Chicago didn't score until one out in the ninth, when Carlos Perez hit a double off reliever Cole Sands to score Romy Gonzalez. Sands worked the last four innings for his first save.
The Twins led the AL Central for 108 games but went 7-27 in their last 34 road games.
LAST CALL FOR CORREA?
Correa plans to talk to the Twins' front office to see “where their head space is” before likely opting out of the final two years of his three-year, $105.3-million contract.
“You know this game enough to know what my decision is going to be,” Correa said. “I love this team. I love this organization.”
Correa could earn more annually on the open market.
“I want to make sure my son and family are taken care of, and the Twins can see the player that I am, the person I am and the passion for the game,” he said.
A DIFFERENT VIEW FOR ABREU
Chicago first baseman Jose Abreu elected to spend what could be his final day in White Sox uniform on the bench. Abreu, 35, is completing the final year of a three-year, $50-million contract and has indicated he wants to play next season. The 2020 AL MVP ranks third in franchise history with 243 homers over nine seasons.
Chicago went 18-16 under interim manager Miguel Cairo after Tony La Russa was sidelined by health issues. La Russa announced Monday he wouldn't be back next year. General manager Rick Hahn said Cairo would be interviewed for the permanent job.
The White Sox drew 2,009,359 this season, an increase of more than 350,000 over their 1,649,775 total in 2019, the last season before COVID-19 restrictions.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press.