Shoddy defense hurts Danks in loss
Trio of errors costly as tempers flare against Twins
MINNEAPOLIS -- Defeating the Twins, at the Metrodome, in the given 27 outs over the course of a nine-inning game, has been tough enough for the White Sox to accomplish over the years.
Hand the Twins a few extra outs, as the White Sox did on Monday during a 4-3 setback before 32,354, and it becomes nearly impossible.
"You can't let a team like that ... you can't give them extra outs," said White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye, who scored one run in the White Sox fourth loss in five games on their current seven-game road trip. "It's always been like that with that team. They're so good that they're able to counter on the extra outs, and we gave them extra outs and they countered on it."
"I'm not going to criticize the players for errors," said a noticeably irked White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen after the defeat. "But we make too many. We had that one inning where we didn't make the plays, and that might have cost us the game."
That one inning on Monday referred to by Guillen came in the second, with the White Sox (51-49) holding a 1-0 lead after Gordon Beckham's two-out jack off Minnesota starter Glen Perkins (6-6) in the top of the frame. Brendan Harris and Carlos Gomez had singled with one out off John Danks (8-7), putting runners on first and second, but Nick Punto hit what looked like a possible inning-ending double-play grounder to shortstop Alexei Ramirez.
Instead, second baseman Jayson Nix's relay throw got past first baseman Paul Konerko, allowing Harris to score the tying run.
"Gomez went in hard and flipped him good, what you are supposed to do in that situation," Danks said. "That's a tough error that Nix got."
"Carlos, in my opinion, made the play of the game by taking the guy out at second base," Minnesota right fielder Michael Cuddyer said.
Alexi Casilla followed with a slow roller just to the right of Danks, fielded cleanly by the pitcher. But his throw was low and ticked off Konerko's glove, with an error charged to Konerko, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
Danks blamed himself for that particular miscue, saying he rushed the throw to first when he had time to set and make a more accurate throw. Those pair of miscues really just began the White Sox early-game fireworks.
Casilla swiped second on a throw from A.J. Pierzynski that glanced off of Ramirez and rolled into center field. An agitated Pierzynski had a few words for Ramirez caught on camera in the White Sox dugout in between the second and the third innings, with Pierzynski continuing his comments as he walked away. Ramirez eventually had to be restrained by Dye from going after Pierzynski.
Although neither Pierzynski nor Guillen would address the specifics of the disagreement, it appeared to deal with the stolen base. It also was a moot point after the loss.
"Whatever happened, happened," Pierzynski said. "It's over. You move on. And that's it."
Konerko helped the White Sox move on in the top of the third with a two-run home run, his 20th, giving the visitors a lead that would hold up until the sixth. Cuddyer touched up Danks for a two-run home run on a 1-0 pitch with one out, giving the Twins (50-50) just enough offensive support for Perkins, Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan (27th save).
It was a game that Danks deserved to win, giving up just the two earned runs on six hits over seven innings. The southpaw also reported no pain from a previous blister problem on the index finger of his left hand that kept him out of action since July 17.
"My hand and everything felt great," said Danks, who struck out three and walked two. "I didn't even notice it one time."
"John pitched very well. He made one mistake," Pierzynski said. "Other than that, he was lights-out. That's a game that you'd like to win, but we made a couple mistakes early that led to them getting a couple runs they shouldn't have had."
Detroit's loss to Texas kept the White Sox at two back in the American League Central. But with two games left in the Metrodome this week, the bigger numbers to look at are the White Sox 2-12 record in their last 14 games at this venue and their 4-15 mark in their last 19.
They also have a 4-8 record on turf this season. All of these marks won't improve much if the White Sox let the Twins dictate their style of play and if the White Sox continue come up a little bit short defensively as they did in the series opener.
"Home runs are great and obviously they are exciting and they help you win games," Cuddyer said. "What we are accustomed to and what we're used to doing is putting pressure on the defense and that's how we score runs and how we win games. We got back to that tonight."
"We're not swinging the bat, especially in the middle of the lineup," Guillen said. "But when we come here, we have to play better."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.