Considering the White Sox trailed 4-0 before they even came to the plate and 6-0 well before they picked up their first hit, the fact that they had the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position in the eighth inning could have registered as a mild triumph.
Alas, the fact that the White Sox kept getting in their own way undermines any moral victory.
Three mistakes helped decide this game.
First inning: Jose Abreu missing a routine throw.
Tonight I learned that official scorers now can charge errors by assuming a double play.
And I learned that because Abreu just missed a good throw by Tyler Saladino, who received a good feed from Tim Anderson. It should have been an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play that sent a scoreless game to the bottom of the first.
Instead, the Twins took advantage of the opening. Joe Mauer singled to make it a 1-0 game, and Eduardo Escobar hit a no-doubter to left to make it a 4-0 game. All four runs were unearned, as is right and just.
The Twins ended up tagging Holland for a pair of homers in the second inning to get to his ERA, but Holland only allowed three earned runs out of the seven he surrendered over five innings on 100 pitches, and the error inflated the pitch count.
Fourth: Matt Davidson getting thrown out at third by 20 feet.
The White Sox were able to put a dent in the Twins’ lead thanks to a Byron Buxton biff. With runners on second and third and one out, Buxton dropped a Todd Frazier flyball in shallowish center field, as he was more focused on trying to make a throw to home to get Tyler Saladino.
Saladino scored the first Sox run, Avisail Garcia took third, and Garcia scored when Brian Dozier could only smother Davidson’s smash up the middle for one out.
Tim Anderson kept the good contact alive with a line-drive single to left. With the play in front of him, Davidson decided to test Jorge Polanco’s arm. It looked like a bad idea when he stepped on second, and the throw had enough time for a quick nap before Davidson arrived, killing the chance for more runs.
Eighth inning: Omar Narvaez chasing.
Despite Davidson’s TOOTBLAN, the Sox carved further into the lead when Melky Cabrera hit a line drive into the Craft Kave in right for a three-run shot in the fifth. Davidson atoned for his baserunning blunder by tomahawking a Tyler Duffey into the seats in right for a solo shot, making it a one-run game.
The dingers appeared to be a lengthy crescendo for an eighth-inning climax. Davidson drew a one-out walk from Matt Belisle, and Rick Renteria pinch-ran Yolmer Sanchez for him. The White Sox tried playing the hit-and-run game with Anderson, but Anderson fouled off the hittable pitches, and the sign was off on the pitches Anderson took — except for ball four.
That put runners on first and second for Omar Narvaez. Paul Molitor countered with closer Brandon Kintzler, who didn’t resemble an immediate improvement. Narvaez coaxed a wild pitch while working a full count to put both runners in scoring position.
On 3-2, though, Narvaez chased a horrible pitch in the dirt. Guys will swing at bad pitches on full counts, but 1) Narvaez’s eye sets higher expectations, and 2) it was a really awful pitch. That gave Kintzler footing in the inning, and he struck out Leury Garcia en route to a five-out save.