CHICAGO – For the second day in a row, the Twins put together an impressive rally against the Chicago White Sox’s bullpen. For the second day in a row, all that comeback amounted to was a footnote in another loss.
J.B. Shuck singled home Avisail Garcia in the eighth inning Thursday, breaking the 5-5 tie, and the Twins’ hopes. The Twins, who twice rallied from at least two runs down, came home instead with a 6-5 loss, a 2-4 road trip and yet another two-game losing streak.
Comebacks are nice, but “it’s just not enough,” Brian Dozier said after homering in the fourth inning and singling home a run in the sixth. “We’re giving up too many runs early in the ballgame, we’re still making mistakes on the bases, we’re costing ourselves.”
He’s right about that. Robbie Grossman and Dozier clubbed back-to-back home runs to close an early 2-0 deficit, and Eduardo Nunez drove home runs with singles in the sixth and seventh innings, turning a 5-2 deficit into a 5-5 tie. But Grossman was throwing out trying to take third on a brief bobble in left field, and Nunez was caught off first base in the seventh when he rounded too far on his second hit, snuffing potential rallies.
And Fernando Abad, pitching for the first time in eight days, issued a pair of two-out walks to Garcia and Jason Coats in the eighth inning, setting up Shuck’s go-ahead hit. Abad was held out in New York last weekend due to back stiffness, Molitor said. The lefthanded reliever pitched only 6⅓ innings in June.
That eighth-inning Chicago run came four innings after starter Tommy Milone’s departure. He retired only nine of the 20 hitters he faced, gave up Todd Frazier’s MLB-leading 23rd home run and finally was pulled after hitting Adam Eaton with the bases loaded. It amounted to five runs in only 3⅓ innings, an ERA that inflated to 6.23, and another few days of worrying about whether he will be given another start next week.
Milone now has pitched in seven games for the Twins this year, in none of them particularly good, and seven games at Class AAA Rochester, none of them remotely bad. But he can’t shake his recent habit of giving up runs immediately after the Twins score for him, which happened twice last Friday at New York, and again Wednesday.
“We got the back-to-back home runs to tie the game, and then the first pitch the next inning is a double,” Molitor said. “You can feel momentum changes, that’s for sure.”
Sano prefers third
Miguel Sano still would rather play third base than the outfield, even though it’s pretty certain his teammates will never let him live down the pop-up that bonked him on the head during Wednesday’s Rochester game. “I feel like it’s more fun [at third],” Sano told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. “It’s not a big deal to play the outfield, but I like third base more.”
Sano, on a rehab assignment as he recovers from a strained left hamstring, said he lost the pop-up in the sun, resulting in the memorable play that had his Minnesota teammates laughing at the video. “I yelled, ‘I got it, I got it,’ but the last two seconds I lost it in the sun. It hit my glove and my head,” he told the newspaper. Didn’t it hurt? “Not at all,” he said.
Rochester manager Mike Quade was most impressed with first baseman James Beresford, who dove and caught Sano’s flub. “If you want to know who Jimmy Beresford is, watch that play,” Quade said. “Miggy called for it, but Jimmy stayed with it all the way.”
Sano went 1-for-3 with a double and a strikeout as the DH in Rochester's 6-1 loss to Syracuse on Thursday, putting him at 4-for-22 (.182) with two home runs in seven games on his rehab assignment.