According to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, watching Kevin Correia pitch often requires a certain measure of patience. “He always starts off and you’re kind of looking out there going, ‘Oh, my,’ ” Gardenhire said. “But he seems to find a way most of the time to give us an opportunity to win a ballgame.”
Friday, Correia gave his skipper plenty of the ‘Oh, mys’ with none of the happy ending in a 9-5 loss to Chicago. The starter lasted only four innings against a White Sox lineup that pummeled him for 10 hits, matching his season high, and seven runs. On a night when the Twins’ long relievers were running on empty, Correia never found that elusive rhythm.
The Twins’ offense did get into a groove late, scoring four runs over the final four innings to lend a little drama to an announced crowd of 28,728. But as Correia sputtered, White Sox starter John Danks limited the Twins to two hits over the first five innings as Chicago rolled to an 8-1 lead.
With two games remaining in a critical 10-game home stand, the Twins have stumbled to a 2-6 mark as their starting pitchers have struggled through injuries and ineffectiveness. Correia said he felt comfortable and would take back only two pitches: the curveball crushed by Jose Abreu for a three-run homer in the first inning, and another curve that Alexei Ramirez sent out of the park in the third. But on a night when the Sox collected 17 hits off five Twins pitchers, Gardenhire saw little to feel good about.
“It wasn’t a very good baseball game from the get-go,” he said. “The ball was flying everywhere: bloops, blasts, the whole package. Our guys scored a few runs here and there, and we missed some plays. An ugly night for us, and not very much fun for anyone involved.”
Danks lasted seven innings and gave up six hits, including a two-run single by Chris Colabello in the sixth and a home run to Oswaldo Arcia in the seventh. Correia spent much of his evening shaking his head and trying to right himself during his second consecutive subpar start.
After a run of seven games in which he lasted at least six innings, Correia has made it through only four innings in his past two. Gardenhire said the pitcher ran out of steam quickly in a July 20 loss to Tampa Bay, and he added that Correia looked “gassed” after throwing 79 pitches Friday.
Correia surrendered singles to the first two Sox batters before Abreu deposited a 427-foot blast into the Twins bullpen, which put the White Sox ahead 3-0 while many fans were still in the beer line. Though Gardenhire has seen him pull himself together after slow starts before, it only got worse. Correia exited the game trailing 7-1, after a fourth in which his wild pitch and errant pickoff throw contributed to a pair of White Sox runs.
“I felt like I was making my pitches for the most part,” Correia said. “Physically, I feel really good right now. I’ve just had two bad starts in a row. I wasn’t out there questioning what I was doing.”
His troubles forced Gardenhire to call on a bullpen that is stretched thin. Samuel Deduno, who threw four innings in relief Thursday, and Anthony Swarzak, who made a spot start Wednesday, were unavailable to pitch. That left only the short relievers to step in.
“That’s two games in a row where he’s gotten four innings, and he’s had to labor, really labor,” Gardenhire said of Correia.