MINNEAPOLIS -- This isn’t where the White Sox envisioned themselves come September 1.
Instead of competing for a postseason spot, the White Sox continue to harm themselves with poor play. Instead of beating up on Minnesota, the Twins have beat up on them.
Even though they rallied from four down on Tuesday night, the White Sox dropped another critical game, 8-6, as several late errors doomed them against the red-hot Twins at Target Field.
Zach Duke and Tyler Saladino each had errors in the eighth inning as Minnesota, which started the day one back of the second wild-card spot, scored four times against the White Sox bullpen. The White Sox have lost 10 of 14 meetings with the Twins this season.
“I literally did nothing to help us win a game today, and it’s borderline embarrassing,” Duke said. “If I give up one, OK, but I gave up three. It puts us in a really tough spot. It’s hard to swallow.”
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Duke is hardly why the White Sox are 61-69 after 130 games.
Despite a large cash infusion of talent in the offseason, this team has failed to consistently put it all together for more than a few days at a time.
One day it’s the offense that struggles. Then the pitching staff, which has carried the most weight, falters for a day or two. Then the defense takes over.
On Tuesday it was the defense’s turn.
The White Sox had managed to work around a rough start by Chris Sale and found themselves ahead headed to the bottom of the seventh, 5-4. Sale retired Joe Mauer to start the inning but exited with 113 pitches.
Minnesota rookie Miguel Sano quickly tied the score with a 401-foot solo homer to left off Nate Jones.
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An inning later, Eduardo Escobar doubled off Duke, who made an ill-advised throw to first on Kurt Suzuki’s bunt that got away, allowing Escobar to score the go-ahead run. Saladino then couldn’t handle Byron Buxton’s hot shot, which set up two more runs.
The White Sox scored once in the ninth and had the tying runs aboard for Jose Abreu flew out to center against Glen Perkins.
“Defensively, at the end, that’s what you are disappointed about,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “You didn’t get it done that way. It’s tough. They’ve been battling. They’ve been tough on us all year. But the execution there at the end just didn’t get it done.”
Sale looked as if he was on his way to another rough start against the Twins, who had produced 17 of the 61 earned runs he has allowed this season in four starts before Tuesday. Whereas Sale has a 2.68 ERA against everyone else this season, he was 1-3 with a 6.46 ERA in four starts against Minnesota.
The Twins scored four times in the second to break open a scoreless game.
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But Sale kept the situation from snowballing and the White Sox rallied.
Sale struck out 10 -- his 13th start this season with at least 10 -- and allowed four earned runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked one.
“We came back and fought,” Sale said. “You just want to give your team a chance to win and not let it snowball and make things worse.”
The White Sox rally began in the fifth when Adam LaRoche singled and Twins starter Tyler Duffey walked the next three batters, including Tyler Flowers with the bases loaded. Adam Eaton, who went 4-for-5, singled in two more to cut the lead to 4-3.
An inning later, Avisail Garcia’s two-run homer off Casey Fien gave the White Sox a one-run lead.
But it wasn’t enough to overcome the late mistakes.
“We continue to put ourselves in situations to be one hit away, so as long as we’re in those situations, we still have a chance,” Duke said. “The team never backs down and never rolls over. It’s encouraging to watch us grind out and come back in games, and then to give it up like I did tonight, it hurts.”