The White Sox haven’t had many big hits in their last dozen games.
The White Sox never seem to deliver any timely knocks in Jose Quintana starts.
Those two forces collided in a 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night in front of 22,072 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Quintana allowed two Brian Dozier home runs, including a decisive three-run shot in the sixth inning, and dropped a seventh straight decision. His offense finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position as Kyle Gibson twirled seven scoreless innings.
Outfielder Melky Cabrera also left the game early with a sore left wrist.
“We didn’t do nothing as hitters,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “We have to find a way. We had an off day. Everybody was nice and relaxed coming back. We’re professionals here as hitters. We have to find ways to get guys in.”
The White Sox didn’t have many shots against Gibson.
They butchered those that they did.
No opportunity was bigger than the third inning, which began with singles by J.B. Shuck and Tim Anderson in front of the team’s 2-3-4 hitters. But Gibson delivered and the White Sox failed yet again.
Down 1-0, Adam Eaton couldn’t move the runners over as he flew out to center. Jose Abreu followed suit and flew out to center before Cabrera — who left in the top of the seventh and is listed as day-to-day — popped out to second.
One inning earlier, Brett Lawrie was stranded in scoring position when Gibson got Avisail Garcia to chase a two-strike pitch off the plate and in the dirt. It was more of the same in the fifth when Eaton flew out to center with a man on second. And again in the seventh when Shuck flew out and Anderson grounded into a fielder’s choice with two aboard.
“It started out well,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You get them on there. Any time we seemed to get something going against Gibson, he just really started going soft and using your aggressiveness against you. I think that's part of what played into it. He had a very good changeup, he used his curve when he had to. He went a little bit backwards. Any time we got into an aggressive count, he just took a little off. We couldn't get anything going against him.”
The team’s effort was the continuance of a nasty trend.
The White Sox are 12-for-98 (.122) with runners in scoring position in their last 12 games. The lengthy slump dropped them from hitting a formidable .260 with RISP, which ranked in the top half of the league, to below .240, which ranks in the bottom third.
That the performance arrived with Quintana on the mound should come as no surprise.
Whereas the White Sox scored 25 runs in Quintana’s first seven starts, they’ve relapsed into their old non-scoring selves whenever he takes the hill. Over his last nine starts, Quintana has had nine runs of support.
The left-hander said the lack of support isn’t something he focuses on because it’s out of his hands.
“I don’t have control on the runs,” Quintana said. “I say the same every time. But I don’t have control, man. I try to keep going. I try to be better next time and keep going. Next time be better out there, better outing and better everything.
“I never think about that. I just try to pay attention and do my job, focusing on throwing the ball well and that’s it.”
Quintana made two mistakes in seven otherwise solid innings.
Dozier’s solo homer to leadoff the second inning gave the Twins, who improved to 25-51, a one-run lead.
Eduardo Nunez then led off the sixth inning with a single and stole second base. He advanced to third on a passed ball. Quintana then walked Joe Mauer and Dozier made him pay when he got enough of a 2-1 curveball low and in to drive it out for a three-run homer and a 4-0 lead.
Quintana — who is 5-8 despite a 3.18 ERA — allowed six hits, walked one and struck out eight.
“I’m sure inside he’s frustrated,” Frazier said. “I would be too. He’s a competitor, gives it his all. One bad pitch.”