CHICAGO – The Twins finally got to Chris Sale on Friday night. In fact, the White Sox ace matched his worst performance of the year.
And the Twins still couldn’t capitalize.
A laborious outing by lefthander Logan Darnell combined with an inability to turn double plays and a rare bullpen meltdown led to a 10-8 loss to the White Sox. The Twins fell to 4-10 since the All-Star break.
Chicago rookie Jose Abreu ran his hitting streak to 21 games. Tyler Flowers hit a home run.
The White Sox led 2-0 in the third when the Twins erupted for five runs off Sale, including a two-run ground rule double by Kennys Vargas that was his first major league hit. Vargas scored on a groundout to give the Twins a 5-2 lead. Sale entered the game 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA in this career against the Twins.
“I knew I had to go back out there and put zeros up,” Darnell said. “I didn’t do that. So that’s on me.”
It’s on the Twins defense, too. They twice had chances to turn double plays in the third but failed each time. Conor Gillespie made them pay with a RBI double. The next inning, Adam Eaton hustled to first to avoid a double play and eventually scored on Abreu’s single. Flowers’ homer in the fifth off Anthony Swarzak tied the score at 5-5. Alexei Ramirez’s RBI double in the sixth put Chicago ahead 6-5.
The Twins got an RBI single by Kurt Suzuki in the seventh and a home run by Chris Parmelee in the eighth to take a 7-6 lead. But the bullpen fell apart, namely Casey Fien, who has been a force this season. He was charged with four runs in the eighth, when Chicago took a 10-7 lead.
Twins relievers gave up six earned runs Friday, the most since they gave up five earned runs on June 8 against Houston.
“Our bullpen, which has been absolutely fantastic for us, just had a rough night,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “And you have to credit the guys on that side. Every mistake we made they whacked.”
Sale needed 107 pitches to get through six innings. The five runs, four earned, he gave up matched his worst outing of the year, June 7 at the Angels. The eight hits were the second-most he has given up this year.
Next up, Cedar Rapids
Joe Mauer and Ricky Nolasco are both headed to Class A Cedar Rapids early next week to begin rehabilitation assignments. Mauer will be managed there by his older brother Jake — if Jake lets him play. “He’ll have to suck up to the manager,” said Rob Antony, Twins assistant general manager.
Mauer, who has missed 26 games because of a strained oblique muscle, will drive to Cedar Rapids on Sunday, work out on Monday, then start playing on Tuesday. He will alternate between first base and designated hitter. He could rejoin the Twins on Aug. 11 in Houston but, if he needs more time, he could move up to Class AAA Rochester.
Nolasco, coming back from an elbow strain, will start Wednesday and be held to around 50 pitches. If that goes well, he could throw again on Sunday and increase his pitches to 75.
• Danny Santana currently is the only center fielder on the Twins roster — and he’s really a shortstop. That could change soon, as the Twins are keeping tabs on Aaron Hicks, who entered Friday batting .301 with a .400 on-base percentage at Class AA New Britain. That includes a .299 batting average against righthanders.