No machine could give the White Sox the kind of stimulation needed to remove their inner block when it comes to Tommy Milone.
Milone entered the game 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA over six starts and 38⅓ innings in his career against the Sox. He tacked on seven shutout innings in his seventh start tonight, holding the Sox to three measly singles. throwing just 91 pitches and handing the Sox their eighth loss in nine tries at Target Field this year.
The White Sox only had one at-bat with a runner in scoring position, and they needed an error to generate that lone mild threat. Carlos Sanchez started the third by reaching on an Eduardo Escboar later. Tyler Flowers flied out and Gordon Beckham grounded into a fielder's choice, but Tyler Saladino kept the inning alive by singling to bring up Melky Cabrera.
Cabrera got a favorable count, but home plate umpire Lance Barrett gave Milone a strike two that was off the plate, and Cabrera flied out harmlessly to right the following pitch to end the inning. Barrett provided for Milone a generous outside corner over the first few innings, but even as the strike zone normalized toward the middle of the game, it made no difference in terms of the quality of the plate appearances.
Carlos Rodon suffered from the lack of support, taking the loss despite pitching six good innings. He gave up a monster solo shot to Miguel Sano in the second inning, but he shut down the Twins over the next four innings and turned in a quality start.
It could have ended better. He had two outs and nobody on in the sixth, but he needed 17 more pitches to get the third out, as he pitched around a Sano walk and a Torii Hunter single. Instead of heading into the seventh inning with pitches to spare, he instead arrived at the end of the line, and his day was done after a leadoff single by Escobar.
For the second night in a row, the bullpen (and defense) didn't help. Jake Petricka came in with a double play opportunity, but Flowers tried to pick off Escobar at first ... except Jose Abreu was charging on the bunt attempt, and nobody was on first base to catch Flowers' throw, and so Escobar took second. A Kurt Suzuki single put runners on the corners, and a Byron Buxton walk loaded the bases.
Petricka ended his night by striking out Brian Dozier for a big first out, and, after a pitching change, Dan Jennings struck out Joe Mauer for the second out. Robin Ventura then called on Daniel Webb to face Trevor Plouffe, but Webb's erratic control bit him. He fell behind 2-0, and on the third pitch, Plouffe lined a double to left field. It brought home two, and only a perfect relay from Cabrera to Saladino to Flowers prevented Buxton from scoring from first.
The Twins didn't need that fourth run, as the Milone, Trevor May and Kevin Jepsen combined to retire the last 10 White Sox who came to the plate.
The lone highlight was the debut of Frankie Montas. He came on in the eighth inning, froze Sano on a slider for a strikeout to start his career on his way to a 1-2-3 inning.
*Rob Brantly also made his White Sox debut, pinch-hitting for Gordon Beckham in the eighth inning and striking out.
*Abreu, Sanchez and Rodon turned the slowest 1-4-3 double play on Sano, whose strained hamstring has reduced him to a late-career Frank Thomas when it comes to footspeed. At least he only has to trot for an inordinate amount of his at-bats.