This afternoon's loss to the Twins looked an awful lot like the child of the first two. Just like Thursday and Friday, the White Sox took an early lead, then watched the Twins climb over them as the offense fell asleep. Just like Friday, the Sox woke up in the ninth inning.
This time, the Sox could only score one of the necessary two off Perkins. Adam Eaton led off with a triple to center, scored on Gordon Beckham's sac fly, and Paul Konerko restarted the rally with a bullet to center. But Jose Abreu and Adam Dunn struck out -- Dunn after pinch-running Garcia stole second to put the tying run into scoring position -- to end the game, sending the Sox to a season-low five games under .500.
One could blame Andre Rienzo for the loss, as he hit the wall in the fifth inning during yet another abbreviated start. He lucked out with a lineout to start the inning, but a single-HBP-double-single sequence ended his day with the White Sox down 4-2.
Then again, Scott Carroll came in, stranded the runner and finished the rest of the game with 3⅔ scoreless innings. Combine them into a super-fringy super-starter (Scandre Crienzoll?), four runs over the course of a game is acceptable. If you allow 13 runs over three games to the Twins with their pitching staff, you should be able to win one of them.
Yet the Sox can't figure out how to strike for that big inning, or even a bunch of smaller ones. Like Friday night, they seemed to have the starter figured out early. The Sox found a one-two punch with two outs in the first when Sam Fuld played Conor Gillaspie's single into a triple, and Abreu hit a 415-foot single to right center (high off the high wall) for a quick 1-0 lead.
They gave Kevin Correia a harder time in the second. Alexei Ramirez reached on Eduardo Escobar's error, and he moved to second on Dayan Viciedo's single. After Alejandro De Aza struck out, Adrian Nieto drew a walk to load the bases.
Like Friday night, though, the Sox could only muster a grounder to second. Eaton hit this one, and Brian Dozier charged for a forceout at the plate for the second out. Correia then gave the Sox a gift by plunking Beckham on a full count for a 2-0 lead, but Gillaspie grounded out to end the threat of a crooked number.
After Abreu's first-inning single, the Sox went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Viciedo bounced into a double play in the third, Ramirez grounded out to first in the fifth, Abreu broke his bat on a 6-3 to end the seventh, and Nieto watched a plate-splitting fastball to strand runners on the corners in the eighth.
The Sox stranded 11 altogether, and are hitting .213 with runners in scoring position on the road since May 1 (.278 at home). That's a big reason why they're now 14-22 away from U.S. Cellular Field.