The White Sox still can’t win a series against a team that isn’t the Royals. Hell, they can’t even split one.
Even with an inspiring victory in the opener, and even with 6⅓ no-hit innings from James Shields today in the finale, the White Sox still managed to lose three of four to the Twins.
Shields went from a perfect game through five to losing the no-hitter, shutout, and briefly being in line for the loss in the seventh. When the White Sox tied it up in the bottom of the seventh to get Shields off the hook, the defense saddled Bruce Rondon with the loss instead.
The Twins scored five runs on four hits, and most of them came in the top of the seventh. Shields issued a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier, but came back to strikeout Max Kepler before Eduardo Escobar ended Shields’ run at history by looping a hanging curve to right. That put runners on the corners, and Eddie Rosario ended the shutout with a sharp single through the right side.
Shields retired Robbie Grossman on a flyout that put runners on the corners when Escobar tagged up, and Escobar scored when he roped a hanging Luis Avilan changup down the right field line.
That gave Minnesota a lead and turned Shields’ gem into a mere quality start. A two-out RBI single by Leury Garcia tied the game at 3 to put Shields in no-decision territory, but the Ricky’s Boys Don’t Quit narrative hit a wall in the eighth.
It wasn’t Rondon’s fault. He walked Joe Mauer with one out, but the Sox had two chances to erase him on the basepaths and botched both of them.
First, Dozier hit a chopper over the mound. Tim Anderson fielded it, and while it developed too slowly for a double play, Anderson fumbled the ball briefly to jeopardize the out at second. Jose Rondon gave up on the possibility, anyway, and when Anderson still came through with an on-target flip to second, Rondon wasn’t ready for it. It bounced into right field, and Mauer took third.
A batter later, Kepler hit a chopper to a drawn-in Yolmer Sanchez. Sanchez looked like he pump-faked to first, and Mauer made a halting advance toward the plate. But then it looked like Sanchez just double-clutched, because he didn’t look Mauer back at all. He just threw to first, Mauer continued toward home in earnest, and he scored standing up for a very confusing go-ahead run.
Adding to the confusion, Nicky Delmonico of all people made an excellent leaping catch at the wall to rob Escobar of extra bases and end the inning.
Nate Jones then hung a slider to Rosario in the ninth for an insurance run.
The White Sox’ offense was good at playing for one run, and it might’ve been a successful strategy if their gloves cooperated. Kyle Gibson usually pushes them around — he entered with a 2.25 ERA against the Sox in 10 career starts — but they raised that number by cashing in every time a leadoff hitter reached base, even inelegantly.
They took a 2-0 lead on Minnesota by converting leadoff doubles. Adam Engel started the third with one to left field, and he came around on a Leury Garcia sacrifice bunt and some #WILDPITCHOFFENSE. It was more of a passed ball, as Bobby Wilson let a typical fastball in the dirt shoot through the five-hole, but it bailed out Sanchez after a strikeout regardless.
In the sixth, Sanchez split the shifted outfield with a double to right center, and flyouts to right by Jose Abreu and Matt Davidson grunted that run home.
It took until the seventh for the Sox to score a run on a hit. Rondon led off with a single, and moved to second when Anderson tried bunting for a hit and settled for a sacrifice. Adam Engel was rung up on a fastball off the plate for strike three on Gibson’s last pitch of the day for the second out.
Paul Molitor came out and lifted Gibson for Zach Duke, wanting to turn around Garcia. It didn’t work, as Garcia punched an elevated 2-1 changeup through the right side for the game-tying single.
The White Sox weren’t so successful in the four innings where their leadoff man didn’t reach, and the last two innings followed suit. Addison Reed and Fernando Rodney pitched perfect innings to close it out.
Record: 9-23 | Box score