Blackburn leaves pitches up, gets knocked around

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 26, 2012 - 7:00 AM

Twins righthander Nick Blackburn was encouraged on Friday when he held Kansas City to one run over 62/3 innings, but Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox was an entirely different story.

Photo: Charles Cherney, Associated Press

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CHICAGO - Twins righthander Nick Blackburn was encouraged on Friday when he held Kansas City to one run over 62/3 innings, but Wednesday was an entirely different story.

Blackburn was charged with eight earned runs over 41/3 innings on 10 hits with one walk, one strikeout and two home runs in an 8-2 loss to the White Sox. Chicago scored two runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings to ease away. Blackburn's ERA was 7.46 entering the game, but it rose to 7.99.

"Blackie got balls up; you could see that," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Early in the game they were rolling some through."

Blackburn, a sinkerballer, didn't get a ground-ball out until the second out of the fourth inning, a sign that his pitches were up.

"There were a lot of balls that weren't hit well that fell through," Blackburn said. "Then they were starting to be aggressive on the fastball, and I was falling behind and had to throw it."

Misdirection

A hard-hit grounder toward Brian Dozier in the second inning turned into a double for White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez in a strange way.

Dozier seemed to have a play on the ball but said the ball suddenly sliced away from him. Dozier said it has happened to him before.

"I tried to go back and barehand it," Dozier said. "I had no chance. Crazy game, huh?"

Ramirez eventually scored on Dayan Viciedo's single.

Etc.

• Alexi Casilla went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and then left the game after the seventh when he became light-headed. He was replaced at second base by Darin Mastroianni, who played some at that position in the minors but never in the majors.

• Outfielder Aaron Hicks, the Twins' first-round draft pick in 2008, had a huge day for Class AA New Britain on Wednesday, going 5-for-6 with two doubles, a home run, two RBI, five runs and 10 total bases as the Rock Cats beat Binghamton 11-2. Top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler started for Binghamton.

• White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis left the game in the fourth inning because of a sprained left ankle.

• Chicago's Paul Konerko has reached base in 25 consecutive games against the Twins.

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