At the risk of being sued for copyright infringement by the folks from ESPN 1500. . .#ItsNotHappening.
The Minnesota Twins dropped their third straight game on Saturday night with a 6-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. That loss, coupled with the Detroit Tigers' win over the Kansas City Royals, means that the Twins are now ten games back in the American League Central with just 49 games remaining in the 2011 baseball season.
Chicago got on the board first in this one against Carl Pavano (6-9, 4.71 ERA) after the two teams exchanged zeroes for the first four innings. In the top of the fifth, the White Sox got a two-out single from Paul Konerko to score Brent Morel and take a 1-0 lead. On the next batter, Juan Pierre attempted to steal third, but Danny Valencia was unable to field the throw from Drew Butera and the ball went into left field. Valencia was charged with an error, and Pierre scored to make it 2-0 in favor of Chicago.
The Twins got one back in the bottom of the sixth against Chicago starter Zach Stewart (1-1, 3.91 ERA), when Kubel reached on a one-out single, and Jim Thome followed that up with a double to put runners on second and third. Valencia then singled to score Kubel, and cut the deficit to 2-1. The Twins appeared to be in a position to score more, but Delmon Young grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The score remained 2-1 until the top of the ninth inning, when Glen Perkins came in to relieve Pavano. Alejandro De Aza led off the inning with a single and stole second base. After striking out Morel, Perkins walked Pierre, and was lifted for Joe Nathan. On Nathan's first hitter, he uncorked a wild pitch that allowed De Aza to score from second thanks to an assist from Drew Butera and a throw that got away. Nathan then walked Alexei Ramirez while Pierre stole third base, and Pierre came in to score on Konerko's ground out to the shortstop to make the score 4-1. Brent Lillibridge then put the cherry on the sundae for the White Sox with a two-run homer to left field to make the score 6-1.
The Twins will look to avoid the sweep on Sunday afternoon when they host the White Sox in the series finale, with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 PM Central time. The White Sox will send right-hander Jake Peavy (4-5, 5.13 ERA) to the mound, while the Twins will counter with left-hander Brian Duensing (8-9, 4.50 ERA).