The White Sox nearly climbed out of the massive cavern they created for themselves on Thursday night.
But in the end, a series of early mistakes was just too much to overcome. The White Sox gave away too many outs yet again and the Minnesota Twins didn’t let them get away with their mistakes. The Twins hit three home runs off Derek Holland and then held on to send the White Sox to a 7-6 loss in front of 16,084 at Guaranteed Rate Field. It was the fifth straight loss for the White Sox, who have fallen to 15-17.
“It was just not a good start to say the least,” manager Rick Renteria said. “But that being said, I thought for goodness sake, we got those guys out there continuing to battle, chip away.
“Guys don’t take it as a deflating moment. It’s not the best moment to have, but it’s not a deflating moment for them because as you can see they kept fighting.”
Holland said he felt good but found trouble early with a pair of first-inning walks. The left-hander still appeared to escape the jam when Jorge Polanco bounced into a potential inning-ending double play. But Jose Abreu dropped Tyler Saladino’s relay throw to keep the inning alive. Joe Mauer took advantage with a two-out RBI single and Eduardo Escobar followed with a three-run shot to put Minnesota ahead 4-0. All four runs were unearned.
The Twins continued to hit Holland hard in the second inning as Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano blasted solo homers to make it a 6-0 game.
“Those guys are going to make the plays,” Holland said. “I still have to make pitches after that no matter what happens. I know what the situation was, but overall I feel like it’s my fault more than anything. I didn’t execute the pitches after that, and that’s what put us in that bigger hole.
"I felt really good. I thought I had everything where it needed to be. I just didn’t miss some barrels sometimes, and they found the holes when they needed to and hit a few home runs as well. Like I said, it just comes back on me.”
Escobar later doubled in a run off Holland — who allowed seven runs (three earned) in five innings — to give Minnesota a 7-2 lead. The former White Sox infielder drove in four runs.
The three homers allowed by Holland matched his season total.
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In spite of a large deficit the White Sox managed to get the go-ahead run in scoring position in the bottom of the eighth inning.
They did so even though they ran themselves out of their first rally. Todd Frazier’s sac fly in the fourth — on Byron Buxton’s dropped fly ball — got the White Sox within 6-1 and Matt Davidson’s fielder’s choice RBI brought them within four runs. But Davidson tried to go from first to third on Tim Anderson’s single to left field and was thrown out by 20 feet to end the threat.
Melky Cabrera’s three-run homer off Twins starter Phil Hughes helped chase him from the game before he could qualify for the victory. Davidson got the White Sox within a run in the sixth inning with a solo homer off Tyler Duffey.
But the Twins bullpen held firm the rest of the way. Taylor Rogers and Ryan Pressly each provided a scoreless inning of relief.
Brandon Kintzler took over with two aboard in the eighth, a pair he moved up with a wild pitch. Kintzler got out of the jam with strikeouts of Omar Narvaez and Leury Garcia to preserve the one-run lead.
Kintzler returned to retire the top of the White Sox lineup in order in the ninth.
Despite the loss, the White Sox have been pleased with their late-game efforts.
“That’s kind of what you ask for from our team every night,” Davidson said. “We want to come out on top, but we want to give every team a fight every night and know we’re not backing down.”
“We ran into a Baltimore team that was playing well and coming off a series where they were pretty energetic. But we’re going to have these ups and downs through the season. We want to stop it and go another direction.”