Righty Lopez strug­gles, Sox’ de­fense falls apart in ugly loss to the Twins

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN SOX BEAT dvan­schouwen@sun­times.com | @CST_­sox­van

With first place on the line in the rub­ber game of a three-game se­ries against the de­fend­ing Amer­i­can League Cen­tral cham­pion Twins, the White Sox played per­haps their worst game of the sea­son Wed­nes­day night.

The Sox got 1⅔ in­nings from starter Rey­naldo Lopez, made a whop­ping four er­rors and man­aged only four hits in an ugly 8-1 loss that dropped them out of a first-place tie with the In­di­ans.

“There’s no way to jus­tify it or make ex­cuses for it,” man­ager Rick Ren­te­ria said. “Just a bad night. Ob­vi­ously, this was not a pretty ball­game. It’s not the type of base­ball we’ve played.”

It was the fourth loss in six games for the Sox (22-15) against the Twins (22-16) this sea­son, which is no way to state a case for be­ing the best team in the divi­sion.

Rookie sec­ond base­man Nick Madri­gal’s sec­ond er­ror of the se­ries pre­ceded a twoout, two-run dou­ble by Josh Don­ald­son to put Lopez in a 3-0 hole and a botched run­down by third base­man Yoan Mon­cada and short­stop Tim An­der­son were the two worst blem­ishes un­der a bright full moon in Min­neapo­lis.

Mon­cada also had a throw­ing er­ror on a rou­tine play that didn’t fac­tor into the Twins’ scor­ing, and Madri­gal’s lob toss to An­der­son al­most de­nied Lopez of an in­ning-end­ing dou­ble play af­ter he loaded the bases with no outs in the first. Eloy Jimenez, who struck out three times against All-Star right-han­der Jose Ber­rios, mis­played Luis Ar­raez’s sink­ing liner for the fourth er­ror of the night.

“Put it be­hind us,” Ren­te­ria said. “There is very lit­tle time left, no time to re­gur­gi­tate it very much. Un­der­stand what we didn’t do cor­rectly and move on.”

The Twins, who are 41-22 against the Sox since 2017, have outscored the Sox 43-28 this sea­son. Lopez, mak­ing his third start since leav­ing his first one against the Twins in the first in­ning with a sore shoul­der, hasn’t lasted longer than four in­nings yet.

He al­lowed three runs (one earned), four hits and two walks and fell to 1-6 with a ca­reer ERA above 6 against the Twins.

Lopez might have pitched his way out of the ro­ta­tion.

“He was get­ting so high in his pitch count, prob­a­bly wiser to pull the plug right there,” Ren­te­ria said.

“We’ll prob­a­bly have a dis­cus­sion to­mor­row . . . and make a de­ci­sion.”

“I felt good be­fore the game,” Lopez said. “Made some good pitches and some that weren’t so good.”

Jose Abreu, named AL Player of the Month, tried to down­play the sig­nif­i­cance of beat­ing the Twins be­fore the game.

“At the end, what mat­ters for us is just un­der­stand­ing what we need to do in or­der to win games,” Abreu said. “We don’t have to be con­cerned about what other teams do. They do what­ever they’re go­ing to do, but it’s what we can do to win ev­ery game, what we need to do to get bet­ter. I re­spect other teams; I re­spect the Twins. But, hon­estly, I’m not con­cerned about what they do.”

The Sox had chances early against Ber­rios. Abreu and Ed­win En­car­na­cion sin­gled in the sec­ond, but Jimenez, Luis Robert and No­mar Mazara struck out swing­ing on Ber­rios curve­balls.

They loaded the bases with one out in the third but set­tled for one run on Abreu’s bouncer to first base­man Miguel Sano, who could’ve forced An­der­son at home had he not bob­bled the ball.

It was the 6-4, 270-pound Sano who was caught in a run­down be­tween sec­ond and third on Ar­raez’s ground ball to Abreu. Mon­cada, rather than run­ning Sano back to­ward sec­ond, flipped too soon to An­der­son, and An­der­son’s re­turn throw to Abreu cov­er­ing third was wide, al­low­ing Sano to score.

“If we work as a team and ad­dress the things we need to ad­dress to win games, we’re go­ing to be good at the end of the sea­son,” Abreu said. “Then we don’t have to worry about other teams and other cir­cum­stances.”


White Sox starter Rey­naldo Lopez is pulled in the sec­ond in­ning against the Min­nesota Twins at Tar­get Field on Wed­nes­day night.

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