MINNEAPOLIS -- The White Sox certainly didn’t expect to find themselves here.
And based off the increasing frustration he has felt, Carlos Rodon didn’t envision this, either.
Making his first start in 26 days, Rodon struggled early on Sunday afternoon and the Minnesota Twins took advantage. Rodon allowed three quick runs and the White Sox never recovered in 6-4 loss in front of 29,670 at Target Field. The White Sox lost for the fourth time in five games and fell to 51-54 overall several hours after they completed a trade that sent reliever Zach Duke to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfield prospect Charlie Tilson. The deal could lead to more trades before Monday’s 3 p.m. CST non-waiver trade deadline for a team that once led its division by 6 1/2 games.
“I didn’t think we’d be in this position right now,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “I thought we’d be right in the thick of things, but it kind of spiraled a little bit. We’re still not out, but we have to put our winning shoes on like now and it has to come in bunches. It really does. We have to find a way to win games.”
Rodon’s first inning made that goal more difficult to attain.
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He hadn’t pitched since July 5. And even though he peppered the zone with strikes (68 of 99 pitches), too many early offerings caught the plate and Minnesota did damage. Brian Dozier, who also homered twice, opened the game with a double and scored on Robbie Grossman’s RBI single. Two batters later, the Twins held a 3-0 advantage when Kennys Vargas blasted a two-run homer.
“They jumped on him pretty good there early,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He was probably knocking a little rust off and getting back into it. But they jumped on him and he battled back and velocity-wise I think he started getting a little stronger as the game went on. That’s probably par for the course of how long he has been away and still trying to feel for it somewhat.”
Jorge Polanco also doubled in a run off Rodon in the third and Dozier homered off him in the fifth to make it a 5-3 game. Dozier later homered off rookie Carson Fulmer, who pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief.
Rodon allowed five earned runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out seven. The loss dropped his record to 2-8.
“(Rust is) not an excuse,” Rodon said. “I’ve just got to be better. The team scores four runs and I have to keep these guys to less than four. That’s my job. I didn’t do it today.
“Everything felt good. They just put good swings on the ball and made it happen.
“I have high expectations. It just didn’t happen today.”
Melky Cabrera went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a walk in the losing effort. Rookie catcher Omar Narvaez drove in a run and singled twice. The Twins committed four errors, including one to allow a run in the eighth inning. But Michael Tonkin struck out Carlos Sanchez with the bases loaded to keep the Twins ahead by two.
The White Sox are just 28-44 since their 23-10 start in mid-May. Frazier didn’t want to think about the possibilities of what could happen over the next day after Duke was traded.
“I don’t know what it means to be honest with you,” Frazier said. “Good, bad or ugly I’m not thinking about anything like that. But to lose a guy like Zach is good because he’s a good left-handed specialist and he’s going to help the Cardinals a lot.”