CHICAGO -- For manager Ozzie Guillen, Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Twins before 30,042 at U.S. Cellular Field was a fitting end to a disappointing first-half for the White Sox, in which they went into the All-Star break below .500 for the first time since 2007.
With starter Jake Peavy struggling for his second straight start and the White Sox offense unable to solve Twins spot-starter Anthony Swarzak, the South Siders finished their seven-game, divisional homestand at just 2-5.
Peavy, who allowed five runs off a season-high 10 hits while also walking two over just 4 1/3 innings, derailed himself with his lack of control in the fourth inning. In a scoreless tie, the right-hander issued back-to-back two-out walks to Rene Tosoni and Tsuyoshi Nishioka with nobody on base and then allowed both runners to score on base hits from No. 8 hitter Drew Butera and No. 9 hitter Jason Repko.
"That's frustrating, getting myself in trouble," said Peavy, who plans to see his physical therapist back home in Alabama over the All-Star break to help his body better respond. "I wasn't throwing the way I certainly want to do things. At the same time, you got to put guys away with two strikes."
"We played very lousy," Guillen said. "Peavy walking two guys with two outs, cost him two runs. Two-out walks always come back and get you."
The fifth inning wasn't any better for Peavy, as the only out he recorded in the inning came on a Michael Cuddyer sacrifice fly, which was sandwiched between four base hits. Reliever Will Ohman then took over for Peavy, who left the game with runners on the corners and the White Sox trailing, 4-0.
Ohman immediately got out of the inning by getting Nishioka to ground into a unique double play that still allowed the Twins to add a run on the play. Second baseman Gordon Beckham made a diving stop on Nishioka's grounder and then threw him out at first. After Danny Valencia had already crossed the plate, first baseman Paul Konerko rifled a throw to shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who tagged out Tosoni after he rounded second base and couldn't get back in time.
"Those guys have to slap the ball around," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire about his team's offense. "They moved it around and got it in the right places. They were big today; that's massive. Everybody wants to be a part of this thing, and when they get a chance, they're excited."
Even with Ohman's 2 1/3 shutout innings of relief and a late rally, the White Sox -- who allowed their opponents to strike first in six of the seven games on the homestand -- couldn't overcome the five-run deficit.
Swarzak, who gave up just four hits over six innings of work, allowed his lone run on a Konerko RBI single in the sixth inning before turning the game over to his bullpen with a 5-1 lead to start the seventh. Reliever Alex Burnett quickly worked his way into trouble, though, issuing a leadoff walk and then allowing back-to-back RBI doubles to A.J. Pierzynski and Beckham, cutting the lead to 5-3.
But after Burnett struck out Mark Teahen, Glen Perkins came in to stop the bleeding, retiring Juan Pierre on a fly out and striking out Ramirez to end the rally.
"Hitting is the toughest thing to figure out why things go the way they go, because everybody is different," Konerko said of the team's season-long offensive struggles. "The effort is there, that's obvious, but the effort is pretty much always there in the big leagues. You just keep going out there and keep grinding and you hope at some point, it turns. If it doesn't turn, it was just a really bad year."
"That's the way they play," Guillen said of the Twins. "They put the ball in play. When you're a good pitcher, those hits are going to come up, but once again, we came up short. We came back a little bit, but, once again, one big hit to tie the game [and] we didn't [get it]."
At the break, the White Sox trail division-leading Detroit by five games largely because of the way Guillen's club has played against its own division this year. The loss dropped the White Sox to just 8-16 against the American League Central, including 1-7 against the Twins and 1-5 against the Tigers.
Despite the underachieving first-half, the White Sox are still in contention, especially when considering their remaining schedule. They continue their 19-game stretch against divisional opponents with 12 straight coming out of the break, bookended by three-games sets against the first-place Tigers.
"It's over. That's about it," Pierzynski said of the first-half. "We're still alive as bad as it's been. As rough as it seemed, we're still close enough. We're still in striking distance. We're not eliminated, we're not completely out of it. We still have a chance."
"Mathematically, obviously we're still in it. But we have to do a lot of things better," Konerko said. "The way we've played up to this point, that's not going to win the division ... Time's gonna start getting short, so hopefully we turn it around. We have to start winning some games at a little better clip."
Paul Casella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.