Another Twins starter flamed out early Friday night, and manager Paul Molitor tried to keep the game close with pitchers who have spent more time at Class AAA Rochester this season than the majors.
The Red Wings relay faltered. The Chicago White Sox scored three runs in the eighth to take a four-run lead, then three more in the ninth to pull away to an 11-4 romp at Target Field. After ending their 13-game losing streak Thursday, the Twins fell right back into the loss column.
Kyle Gibson gave way after 5⅔ innings with the Twins trailing 5-4. Ryan O’Rourke got the final out of the sixth and Pat Light worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to keep the Twins within a run.
“He’s got a nice split-fingered pitch,” Molitor said of Light, “but he still has to use his fastball to get those guys to expand. He got into some trouble but he pitched his way out, which was good to see.”
In the eighth inning, the baton went to Alex Wimmers, who gave up a single, then threw wildly after fielding a bunt to put runners on second and third.
“The bunt was a big play in the inning, not getting an out,” Molitor said. “Things kind of deteriorated.”
With the bases loaded, Tyler Saladino hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-4. With two outs, Wimmers was ahead of Jose Abreu 1-2 in the count, but the slugger served a two-run single to center for an 8-4 White Sox lead.
J.T. Chargois got the last out of the eighth but gave up three in the ninth on three hits and a walk. “Too much for us to overcome,” Molitor said.
Gibson (5-9) threw a complete game Aug. 17 at Atlanta, but he failed to pitch at least six innings for the third consecutive outing and 10th time this season. It led to the fifth consecutive game Molitor needed to get at least nine outs from his bullpen.
The Twins led 3-1 in the third behind Brian Dozier’s three-run homer, his 33rd home run of the season. That’s tied for 11th-most by a second baseman all time. But Chicago got a tying two-run homer from Todd Frazier in the fourth and added runs in each of the next two innings off Gibson.
One reason the Twins used inexperienced relievers Friday was that righthander Michael Tonkin is suffering from shoulder fatigue and was unavailable. Tonkin, 2-2 with a 4.95 ERA, hasn’t pitched in a game since Aug. 26 in Toronto.
“We’re not going to force him back out there,” Molitor said. “I don’t think he’s going to be pitching through this weekend at least.”
• The Twins activated Buddy Boshers from the disabled list after the lefthander recovered from a sore left elbow. He tossed 2⅔ scoreless innings for Rochester on a rehabilitation assignment. Boshers was not available out of the bullpen Friday because he threw 32 pitches Thursday for the Red Wings.
• Rochester was eliminated from postseason contention on Friday with a 7-1 loss to Lehigh Valley. Reynaldo Rodriguez broke up a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning. The Twins are set to announce callups Saturday, with catcher John Ryan Murphy having been told he’s being promoted.