MINNEAPOLIS -- At least the White Sox can’t lose on Monday.
But they more than made up for it with a comedy of errors at Target Field on Sunday afternoon. Blown out for the third time in five days, the White Sox couldn’t pitch, hit or catch the ball in a 13-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
John Danks became the latest starting pitcher to get hit around on the road trip. He gave up seven runs and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings and had two of his team’s season-high four errors as Minnesota completed a four-game sweep. Winless on their five-game road trip and outscored 39-10, the White Sox are now 8-14.
“It’s a bad week, “White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “There’s no way around it. We played bad baseball. They were swinging it, they were doing everything. I don’t think there was anything we were really good at. We have just to check ourselves and get back after it. A lot of these guys, I know they’re battling through stuff. But you have to be better. You can’t go out there and lay and egg like that.”
The starting pitching has to improve first.
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
Not that the offense or defense offered much support, but the team’s starting rotation put them in an early hole for much of the road trip.
Danks (1-3) was no different, though he struck out the side in the first and pitched out of a jam in the second. The third inning wasn’t as kind as the Twins scored seven times with the aid of two Danks errors that helped knock him out.
After Danks allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning, he loaded the bases by dropping a throw from Adam LaRoche, who made a diving stop behind first base. Trevor Plouffe followed with his first career grand slam and Minnesota’s offense was off and running. Danks reloaded the bases with a second error as he fielded a comebacker and skipped a throw to second base. Danny Santana followed with a two-run single under the glove of LaRoche to make it 6-0 and Danks was done.
Brian Dozier singled in Danks’ last run off Scott Carroll to put the Twins ahead by seven.
Danks’ effort wasn’t the worst of the trip in which White Sox starting pitchers went 0-5 with a 10.39 ERA. The group gave up 30 runs (25 earned) and 38 hits in 21 2/3 innings.
“It was pretty awful,” Danks said. “I set the tone. … We need to play better. The pitchers talked and we haven’t given our team too much of a chance to win a lot of our games.”
Though it may be hard to imagine, an already awful week only got worse.
“We didn’t see this coming,” Danks said.
The White Sox scored twice in the top of the fourth as Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey hit three batters, including two to force in runs, and walked another.
But the Twins kept hitting and the White Sox continued to kick the ball around. Plouffe singled in a run to make it 8-2. Micah Johnson then made a nice diving stop of Kennys Vargas -- who later homered -- but threw the ball into left field instead of starting a double play.
Minnesota, which finished with 19 hits, singled in two more runs to go ahead 10-2 and move Vargas to third.
Geovany Soto committed the team’s fourth error as Dan Jennings’ pitch bounced to his right and the catcher, believing Vargas was coming home, flipped the ball over the pitcher’s head, which then allowed the runner to easily score.
“They came out swinging and beat us,” Soto said.
The offense matched its best output of the trip but was no match for the Twins.
A group that is last in the American League in a number of offensive categories couldn’t break through against Pelfrey early. Alexei Ramirez grounded into a double play in the second inning after consecutive hits by LaRoche and Avisail Garcia to start. Then in the third, J.B. Shuck popped out with a man at second and Jose Abreu stranded a pair with a fielder’s choice.
The Sox scored two courtesy of Pelfrey’s wild streak in the fourth. But reliever Ryan Pressly took over and got Shuck to fly out to left and struck out Melky Cabrera to strand the bases loaded.
“You sit there and scratch your head looking at it because you go through spring training and do everything we do for a month and a half and it looks like this,” Ventura said. “You want to play better baseball. You want to remember it and forget it all at the same time. Again, it has to improve.”