Milone can't carry Minors success into Twins starts

Milone can't carry Minors success into Twins starts

CHICAGO -- Tommy Milone still has no answer for why he's been successful in the Minor Leagues, but not with Minnesota.

Milone started the Twins' finale against the White Sox on Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field, taking a no-decision in a 6-5 loss after allowing five runs in 3 1/3 innings. It was Milone's second start since returning to Minnesota from Triple-A Rochester on June 19, with the results no better than his first start last Friday against the Yankees.

"He's working, trying to figure out how to have a little longer outings up here," said manager Paul Molitor, who wouldn't commit to Milone making his next scheduled start. "He hasn't had a lot of opportunities since he's been back here. I'm not sure exactly what the best thing going forward is right now. I haven't thought about that yet."

Milone threw more strikes, but he struggled to get outs.

"I got ahead, which is what I was trying to do," the left-hander said. "I was trying to throw more strikes today, get ahead, and I couldn't get that next pitch. It felt like I actually made some good pitches that fell in for hits, that probably weren't hit that hard, but that's kind of the way things have been going."

It was the complete opposite at Rochester, where Milone was outrighted May 7 after struggling in his role as the Twins' fifth starter. Milone went 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA in seven starts for the Red Wings, striking out 41 in 48 2/3 innings and walking just four. He lasted at least five innings in all seven outings, going at least seven in five of them.

That level of success just hasn't translated to his stints in Minnesota this season.

"It's something I'm searching for right now," Milone said. "I think I've just got to continue to be the pitcher that I am. Be aggressive, get ahead in the count, and I think if I continue to do that consistently, things will turn around."

Against the White Sox on Thursday, things unraveled in the fourth inning. Milone gave up three runs on four hits right after the Twins had tied it at 2 in the top of the frame. Milone was pulled with the bases loaded and one out.

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Twins on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.