MINNEAPOLIS — Offense was everywhere at Target Field on Tuesday night.
The pitching was not as prevalent.
Derek Holland was hit hard early and the White Sox never fully recovered despite big nights at the plate from Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia. The White Sox lost their second straight, falling 9-7 to the Minnesota Twins in front of 26,095. Abreu reached base five times, falling only a triple shy of the cycle while Garcia went 3-for-4 with a homer, walk and two RBIs.
“It wasn’t (Holland’s) day today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He missed his spots, left some pitches out over the plate that they were able to do some damage with. That’s about as much as I can give you because we didn’t leave him out there that long.
“I think he left a few pitches over the middle of the plate and you’ve got a few guys over there who can really drive the ball.”
The pitching offered up by both teams in this one was so bad that even Saul Goodman couldn’t mount a strong defense.
Holland struggled from the outset and didn’t escape the third inning. He surrendered a two-run homer to Miguel Sano in the first inning, a 425-foot laser to center to give Minnesota an early lead. Then a third-inning White Sox rally was undone by Holland in the bottom half as the Twins scored five times.
Holland walked Sano ahead of singles by Robbie Grossman and Joe Mauer, which reduced the White Sox lead to 4-3. Kennys Vargas then obliterated a 1-1 changeup from Holland, blasting it 483 feet into left-center field for a three-run homer. Holland would surrender two more singles before he exited. He allowed seven earned runs and nine hits in 2 2/3 innings, his second shortest start of the season.
“These guys put some runs up and the worst part is I didn’t do my job,” Holland said. “It was a really embarrassing performance and to let it slip like that is unacceptable. Too many guys working as hard as they did and putting runs on the board back for me it’s my job to shut that down but I didn’t.
“It was just everything. We try to expand out rather than in and everybody I was doing was coming back to the middle. These guys are made to hit mistakes and hit the ball. I gave out a few souvenirs and didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I have to be better than that. It’s really unacceptable.”
White Sox relievers only surrendered two earned runs but walked five batters in 5 1/3 innings.
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Minnesota pitcher Ervin Santana wasn’t much better, though he qualified for the victory.
Santana had men in scoring position in the first two innings before the White Sox rallied for four runs in the third to pull ahead. Melky Cabrera and Abreu doubled to make it a 2-1 game. Garcia’s two-run homer put the White Sox up by a run and Matt Davidson’s solo shot made it a 4-2 game. It was Garcia’s 11th homer and Davidson’s team-leading 16th.
“We’ve got to keep fighting,” said Garcia, who produced his 11th three-hit game of the season. “We have to fight to win every inning and score runs for the pitcher.
“We’ve faced (Santana) this year a couple of times. We made the adjustment and we just tried to do our best, don’t do too much and try to do our job.”
Though they battled to the end, the White Sox couldn’t finish the job. They got back within 7-6 in the fifth when Yolmer Sanchez followed walks of Garcia and Tim Anderson with a two-out, two-run triple. But Santana struck out Adam Engel to strand the tying run. Santana allowed six earned runs and 10 hits in five innings with two walks.
Twins relievers allowed six hits and walked two in four innings but limited the damage to one run. Abreu’s homer in the sixth got the White Sox within 8-7 but Kevan Smith lined out with the bases loaded to end the inning. The White Sox also had the tying run on third base in the seventh and eighth innings but couldn’t pull even as Matt Belisle, Taylor Rogers and Brandon Kintzler combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
“We had the guys come in to pick up Dutch and kind of kept us there,” Renteria said. “We kept battling back. We weren’t obviously able to overcome the deficit but they gave us a chance. We had a chance to win the ballgame.”