MINNEAPOLIS — John Danks took the blame for Monday night’s loss and there’s no question he played a significant role in the outcome.
But make no mistake: the White Sox lost 13-2 to the Minnesota Twins in front of 24,094 at Target Field behind a team effort. The White Sox made three outs on the bases, committed three errors and Danks allowed nine runs in 5 1/3 innings as Minnesota won the eighth of 11 meetings between the teams.
“I stunk,” Danks said. “There’s really no other way to put it. Wasn’t good in the bullpen, wasn’t good in the game. Made bad pitches, got hit. Got to throw early strikes, get ahead, make quality pitches. I did none of those.”
His teammates didn’t cross off many of the necessary boxes to win a ballgame behind him.
It began innocently enough on the bases.
Trailing 1-0, the White Sox rallied on a two-out, two-run, bases-loaded single by Adam LaRoche in the third inning. The White Sox appeared to be in line for a big inning as Alexei Ramirez followed with another two-out hit — something they sorely lacked — but Melky Cabrera was thrown out at home after he appeared to look back to locate the ball. Byron Buxton fired a rope from center to throw Cabrera out by two steps to end the inning.
Gordon Beckham started the fourth with a single to shallow center, a play that took the middle infielders far away from the base. Beckham hustled and tried to sneak into second only to be easily thrown out as pitcher Tommy Milone covered and tagged the runner out.
Geovany Soto followed Beckham with a double to right and one out later, he was thrown out on the bases. Soto headed for third on Adam Eaton’s fielder’s choice and rather than throw to first — where he likely would have had time to retire Eaton for the final out — Trevor Plouffe started an inning-ending rundown to retire Soto.
“Right now we’re just not finding a way to win the game, make the plays to win the game, getting the knocks to win the game,” Beckham said. “We’re just not finding the way to do it.”
The three outs on the bases gives the White Sox 36 for the season, which is how many Tampa Bay, who had the most OOB in the majors, had to start the day.
Then the defense took over.
Shortly after Joe Mauer tied the game at 2 with a solo homer off Danks, the defense let things get out of hand. Danks walked Torii Hunter but appeared to get a routine double play off the bat of Plouffe only for Ramirez to throw over the head of second baseman Carlos Sanchez and into right field. On the next play, Cabrera hauled in a routine fly to left and Ramirez didn’t catch his relay throw, which struck Hunter and allowed Plouffe to advance to second base on an error. Kurt Suzuki made it 3-2 with a sac fly and Kennys Vargas put the Twins ahead by two runs with a two-out single to left.
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Three more errors give the White Sox 49 on the season, the sixth-most in the majors.
“There’s one of that you should have made, we know that,” Ventura said. “At that point it does get frustrating, but that wasn’t the reason for the game.”
“We made some mistakes but they swung it, too.”
Danks left one up to Eduardo Nunez, who homered to give Minnesota a 6-2 lead. Two innings later, Danks gave up three more hits, including a massive three-run homer to Vargas as the Twins went up 9-2.
Danks — who entered the game with a 5.16 ERA — has allowed 14 homers in 80 1/3 innings this season. Last season, Danks gave up 25 homers in 193 2/3 innings.
The Twins’ power surge wasn’t finished as Hunter doubled in two more runs in the sixth inning off Scott Carroll. Then in the eighth, Brian Dozier hit a two-run homer off reliever Junior Guerra.
“It wasn’t for a lack of trying, lack of care,” Danks said of the Ramirez error. “Just the game of baseball. That play had no bearing on any pitches after that. It was my job to pick him up and I didn’t do it. That play had no bearing on the sixth inning, either. “That’s not why we lost the game.”