Dome woes continue for White Sox
Loss to Twins seals 1-6 road trip; Chicago falls to third
MINNEAPOLIS -- The postgame interview session with Ozzie Guillen had just come to a close on Wednesday night, with the White sox manager talking about his team's 3-2 loss, completing the Twins' latest three-game sweep over the South Siders at the Metrodome.
With 14 losses in their past 16 games played at the Metrodome, and to go one step further, 17 in their last 21 there, Guillen already has begun the countdown to the White Sox final road series indoors in Minneapolis from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. And Guillen sent out his own little Hallmark greeting to Ron Gardenhire's crew as they prepare to move into Target Field's outdoor environs for the 2010 campaign.
"I can't wait to see those piranhas swimming in a different lake next year," said Guillen as he walked back into the visitors' clubhouse, drawing a laugh from the Minnesota media. "I want to see these piranhas hitting in 20 below [zero]."
As of July 29, 2009, though, there's no getting around the indoor dominance for the Twins (52-50) over the White Sox (51-51). On Wednesday, the White Sox lost to left-handed spot-starter Brian Duensing, who didn't know about replacing scheduled starter Francisco Liriano until about five hours before the first pitch.
Duensing did not get the win but held the White Sox to solo home runs from Jayson Nix and Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez's single over five innings. Quentin's home run was his first and first RBI in 10 games since returning from the disabled list on July 20.
Jesse Crain (3-4), Matt Guerrier and closer Joe Nathan (29th save) combined to hold the White Sox scoreless over the final four innings.
"It was kind of a big outing all the way around," said Duensing, who departed after 64 pitches. "I felt like lately our bullpen is getting a little tired, but for all of us to come out and do a job like that and get us a win is pretty special."
Jose Contreras (4-10) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings, walking five and striking out four. The Twins scored the game-winner in the bottom of the sixth when Joe Crede drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on Carlos Gomez's sacrifice bunt and came home on Alexi Casilla's bloop single in front of center fielder Scott Podsednik.
This rally was typical Twins, a prototype "piranha" death by 1,000 paper cuts, to which the White Sox have grown all too familiar.
"A typical week for the White Sox: come to Minnesota, spend a nice day and get your [behind] kicked," Guillen said. "I don't see anything different since I managed this ballclub. I come out and talk to you guys after the game and I don't have a happy face."
"Incredible," said Contreras through interpreter Ozzie Guillen, Jr. "Everything goes right for them at this stadium. They play really good at home. They got the hits."
To add injury to insult for the White Sox, Ramirez left the game in the seventh after sliding hard into second trying to break up a double play and spraining his right ankle. Ramirez will have the injured area X-rayed in Chicago on Thursday.
Even without Ramirez, the White Sox put a rare charge into Nathan, who has four saves against Chicago this season and 21 for his career. Gordon Beckham, hitting from the two-hole for the first time in his career, collected his second single to open the ninth, and Paul Konerko put runners on first and second by drawing a one-out walk.
Chris Getz struck out swinging, but the runners moved up to second and third on his swing at strike three, bringing Mark Kotsay to the plate. Kotsay started at first base in his initial game with the White Sox, after being acquired in a trade with Boston for Brian Anderson on Tuesday, and roped the first pitch from Nathan to right field.
But this is the Metrodome, where White Sox hopes and dreams quickly fade away. Kotsay's hard liner was hauled in by Michael Cuddyer, who barely had to move.
"As soon as he hit it, I thought we are winning or going to the bottom of the ninth," Beckham said. "You can't fault that effort. He smoked that ball. Baseball can be a cruel game, and it didn't work out for us."
One week ago, the White Sox left Chicago tied for first place with Detroit in the American League Central, five games over .500 and riding the crest of momentum produced by Mark Buehrle's perfect game. They come home Thursday to start a 10-game homestand against the Yankees sitting in third place and trailing the Tigers by three games on the heels of a dismal 1-6 road trip.
Guillen believes his team didn't play that poorly, but they just didn't get the results. That mantra pretty much could be echoed every time the White Sox enter the Metrodome.
"Every game was very close, and sometimes you have to tip your cap to the other team," said Contreras of the White Sox, who have had nine of their past 13 games decided by one or two runs, with a 3-6 mark in those nine. "We got beat in Detroit and Minnesota. But if we keep playing this way, we'll be good."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.