When the Twins have lost so far during this young season, it’s been primarily due to a lack of offense. That was again the case on Monday afternoon at Target Field as the home team managed to scratch out only four singles en route to a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox, for their part, did their best to hand the game to the Twins, committing three errors and hitting three batters to make things interesting throughout the afternoon, but the Twins couldn’t muster a single extra-base hit or string together enough knocks to do any real damage.
The game started out as a good old-fashioned pitcher’s duel, with Kenta Maeda retiring 9 of the first 11 White Sox batters he faced while Dylan Cease struck out the side in the first and didn’t give up a hit until the third inning.
The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. After a leadoff infield single from Christian Vazquez, Jose Miranda stroked a two-out single up the middle and Donovan Solano was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Nick Gordon hit a smash to third baseman Hanser Alberto, who couldn’t handle it and allowed a run to score on the error. Kyle Farmer struck out to end the inning.
Chicago struck right back with three singles across the first four batters of the top of the fourth inning. Alberto then atoned for his error in the prior frame by clubbing a three-run homer to give the Sox a 4-1 lead.
The Twins chipped away, and in large part due to continued White Sox defensive miscues. Matt Wallner lead off the Twins’ half of the fourth with a hit-by-pitch. Vazquez walked, and after a botched double-play attempt by the Chicago infield Wallner ended up at third base and scored on a clutch, two-out single from Twins’ leadoff batter (!) Trevor Larnach.
The Twins scored a single run again in the fifth inning after Gordon reached on an Elvis Andrus error and came all the way around to score from first on a Wallner ground ball that went five-hole on Sox first baseman Gavin Sheets.
Maeda, for his part, settled down and generally pitched well, going six innings and giving up four earned runs that all scored during that stretch in the top of the fourth inning. The Twins bullpen got three shutout innings from Caleb Thielbar and Jovani Moran, the latter of whom bounced back nicely after a rough outing on Saturday.
Minnesota never truly threatened again, getting just a one-out single from Donovan Solano in the seventh, a Willi Castro hit-by-pitch in the eighth, and nothing at all in the ninth inning.
- The Twins had four singles and zero extra-base hits. White Sox pitching walked two and hit three more. The White Sox defense committed three errors, leading to two of the Twins’ three runs being unearned. Needless to say, the Twins squandered a golden opportunity to steal a game from a sloppy Sox squad.
- Maeda mostly looked sharp, save for the several-batter stretch in the fourth.
- Byron Buxton had the day off and struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance in the eighth.
- Carlos Correa missed his second consecutive game with tightness in his back, but it sounds like he may even be able to play Tuesday night.
- Tim Anderson had to leave the game after Wallner fell/slid into his knee trying to get to third on the White Sox’s botched double-play attempt/fielder’s choice in the fifth.
- Trevor Larnach: 1-for-5, RBI, 3 K
- Matt Wallner: 0-for-1, BB, R, good baserunning
- Twins’ bullpen: 3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 BB, 3 K
- Kyle Farmer: 0-for-4, 3 K
- Michael A. Taylor: 0-for-4, 2 K, 0-for-2 RISP