(Photo credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Even as he clubs grand slams at a record-setting rate, Minnesota Twins shortstop Royce Lewis strives to stay grounded.
"This game is so hard, you know, and it can be taken away from you at any point. I know that with the best of them," he said. "I just want to play and have fun and take advantageof the opportunity that I get to be a big leaguer each and every day."
Lewis has homered in two straight games entering Saturday's visit to the struggling Chicago White Sox, who have lost 11 of their past 14. Sidelined by knee injuries for much of his young career to date, Lewis is working to capitalize as the Twins (78-70) head toward the postseason.
He set a franchise single-season record during Friday's 10-2 rout of the White Sox by hitting his fourth grand slam. The Twins lowered their magic number to seven to clinch the American League Central division crown.
Right-hander Pablo Lopez (10-7, 3.43 ERA) will aim to keep the Twins rolling as he looks to build upon Sunday's strong start against the New York Mets. Lopez fanned 14 batters in an eight-inning no-decision while scattering two hits and two hit-by-pitches.
Lopez eclipsed 200 strikeouts for the season during Minnesota's loss, becoming the first Twins pitcher to reach that plateau since Jose Berrios in 2018.
Chicago managed just seven hits Friday, including just one for extra bases -- Elvis Andrus' two-run home run in the fifth.
First baseman Andrew Vaughn singled twice for the White Sox while stretching his hitting streak to five games.
Vaughn connected for his 20th home run of the season in Thursday's series opener to extend a career high. While Vaughn said attaining the milestone was "pretty cool," he was quick to add that such things aren't what drive him each season.
"Personally, if I set those goals for myself, it's like if I'm not getting there, it's end-all, be-all," Vaughn said. "At the end of the day, I want to go out and do the best I can. If I get to those numbers, that's phenomenal, but I want to strive to be the best to get to those numbers."
White Sox manager Pedro Grifol remains encouraged by Vaughn's development as the White Sox (56-92) continue to struggle.
"I like what he's done, and I like that he hasn't tapped into his full potential yet [but] he's [still] having a pretty good year," Grifol said. "There's still a lot more in the tank. I think he's going to turn out to be a pretty good baseball player for us for a long time."
Righty Touki Toussaint (3-7, 5.65) is slated to start for the White Sox as he aims to rebound from Tuesday's one-inning start against Kansas City, when he allowed eight runs and six hits, including a homer.
Toussaint hasn't faced Minnesota in his career.
Lopez's first two appearances against the White Sox came this season. He has two no-decisions and a 2.45 ERA over 14 2/3 innings versus Chicago.
--Field Level Media