Sale shock: Twins crush White Sox ace in opener

Sale shock: Twins crush White Sox ace in opener

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins roughed up White Sox ace Chris Sale, who turned in one of the worst outings of his career, as Minnesota's offense broke out with a seven-run third inning in a 12-2 win on Thursday night at Target Field.

Sale, who entered with a 2.37 ERA, gave up nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits and two walks over just three innings. Sale had never given up nine runs in any of his previous 88 starts, and the eight earned runs tied a career-worst. It was also his shortest outing since also going three innings on May 27, 2014, against the Indians.

Minnesota scored a run in the first on a bloop RBI single from Joe Mauer before scoring again in the second on a bloop RBI single from Brian Dozier to score Danny Santana all the way from first. The Twins broke it open with a seven-run third inning that saw 10 batters reach the plate, including Dozier, who connected on a three-run homer to left.

Dozier's three-run blast

"You have to play the games and they don't always turn out the way they appear heading into a game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Once we got it rolling there, we were able to put up a big inning."

The offense backed Twins right-hander Trevor May, who gave up two runs on 10 hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings. The White Sox scored their two runs against May in the third on back-to-back RBI singles from Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Twins bat around in the third: With the game tied at 2-2, the Twins broke the game open with a seven-run third inning against Sale, sending 10 batters to the plate. Kurt Suzuki brought home the first run with an RBI single before Eduardo Escobar singled home two more runs. Shane Robinson followed with an RBI single to set up Dozier for a three-run blast to left field to cap the rally that put the game out of reach. More >

Escobar's two-run single

"There were a lot of good performances," Molitor said. "A lot of guys had hits during that rally. Dozier had the big blow that put it away there."

Sale-ing away: It was one of the rougher starts in Sale's All-Star career. In fact, the southpaw had given up eight runs in a start twice before but never had allowed nine runs until Thursday's series opener. More >

"Hitting is contagious. You give a team like that some energy and they are going to roll with it," Sale said. "That's what they did. They took advantage when they could and they got me."

E, White Sox: There were two errors charged to the White Sox on Thursday and only Alexei Ramirez's two-out fielding gaffe in the second led to a run. But the White Sox also allowed Santana to score from first on a Dozier bloop single to center and Sale failed to back up an errant throw at home by Adam Eaton during a seven-run third. More >

Dozier's RBI single

"We haven't played much baseball in the last couple of days," Eaton said. "We've had some different games but we've got to compete a little better."

Robinson shows off strong arm: The White Sox jumped on May early in the first with a one-out double from Ramirez, but Ramirez was thrown out at home by center fielder Robinson on a single from Cabrera. It was the second outfield assist from Robinson this week, and set the tone for the rest of the game.

Robinson gets the out at home

QUOTABLE
"To put up the runs we did against who I think is the best left-hander in the game is pretty good." -- Dozier on Sale

"If we learned anything this week, it's it definitely could be worse," Sale on the White Sox week that began with two postponed games in Baltimore due to the protests and unrest

REPLAY REVIEW
With the White Sox down, 12-2, in the ninth, second baseman Micah Johnson hit a slow roller to third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who threw to first for what was ruled the first out of the inning by first-base umpire Greg Gibson. The White Sox challenged the play, and the call was ultimately upheld.

Out call stands in the 9th

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Sale had given up just a combined eight earned runs in his previous four starts against the Twins for a 2.63 ERA, but matched that total in his start on Thursday. The seven-run third was also the most runs he had allowed in an inning in his career.

WHAT'S NEXT
White Sox: Jose Quintana gets the call in Game 2 of this four-game series on Friday night, coming off of a strong outing against the Royals where he allowed two runs over seven innings. Quintana has 41 no-decisions since 2012, a Major League-high in that time.

Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson is set to start for the Twins coming off a strong start against the Mariners, as he gave up just two earned runs on five hits over seven innings. After struggling in his first start of the year, he's posted a 2.89 ERA over his last three outings.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.