Sox can't pick up Danks during Minnesota derby

Sox can't pick up Danks during Minnesota derby

MINNEAPOLIS -- Every time the White Sox rallied to make it a close game Thursday, the Twins poured on more runs, completing a sweep of Chicago with an 8-4 win at Target Field.

The sweep marked the first time since Sept. 14-16, 2010, that the Twins swept the White Sox in a three-game set.

"It's frustrating," manager Robin Ventura said. "I know for the guys, [the team mentality is] the toughest part. It's hard. The game is hard enough when you're playing well. When you're not playing well, you can see all the warts and everything else. You can see how hard the game is. You don't take it for granted, you keep playing hard. Eventually, the sun comes out."

While Minnesota jumped out early -- hitting four home runs off left-hander John Danks -- Chicago made it a game in the sixth with back-to-back homers for only the second time this year -- the first since a 4-2 win over the Twins on May 14, also at Target Field.

Paul Konerko hit a two-run blast to left to score Alex Rios, who led off the sixth with a single. Adam Dunn followed with a shot to right to make it a two-run game.

But the White Sox offense couldn't make up for Danks' rocky start. The lefty gave up six runs on 12 hits through five innings.

"With Johnny, it's just one of those, he throws a couple pitches in there," Ventura said. "The home runs hurt, but we aren't helping him defensively -- any of the pitchers. You've got to clean that up to give yourself a chance to come back and score like we did."

"You just have to tip your hat on them hitting pitches that you're supposed to hit," Danks said. "I just felt like the few times I was able to get ahead, I wasn't able to put them away. I didn't have maybe what I needed to put them away, but nonetheless, there's no reason for me to throw the ball where I did. ... I gave a few guys some cookies, and they did what they were supposed to do."

Minnesota got to Danks early as Oswaldo Arcia kicked off the home run fiesta with a solo shot to right with one out in the second. Three batters later, Brian Dozier joined in with a two-run, two-out blast to left off the front of the second deck, scoring Clete Thomas, who singled and moved to second on a throwing error.

"It was a nice sweep there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Some good things happened, with the bottom of the order coming up with some big ones and Dozier, too, with another one to get us to an early lead. So we kind of hung on from there."

Chicago got one back in the fourth, loading the bases before a throwing error from Minnesota third baseman Trevor Plouffe allowed Jeff Keppinger to reach and Konerko to score.

Just as the White Sox got on the board, the Twins added on. Thomas and Eduardo Escobar hit back-to-back home runs for a 5-1 lead. Arcia came up with his second hit of the day an inning later, an RBI single that scored Plouffe.

Chicago closed the deficit to 6-4 an inning later, as Konerko and Dunn went deep, but once again the Twins responded. Right-hander Matt Lindstrom took over for Danks in the sixth and retired two batters before loading the bases. Justin Morneau -- the lone Twin without a hit on the day at the time -- came up with a two-run single to score Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit, who each reached on a double and a fielding error, respectively.

"It always helps when everyone in the lineup is hitting, 1 through 9," Dozier said. "Everything is flowing really well right now."

Twins starter Scott Diamond worked through 5 1/3 innings and gave up four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits. He walked one and struck out two.

Right-hander Jesse Crain notched a franchise-record 28th straight scoreless appearance for the Sox in the seventh inning. He gave up just one hit and struck out one against his former team.

"I just go out there and I take it day by day, pitch by pitch," Crain said. "I feel like you get better every year, you learn something. I'm trying to put everything together this year. So far it's worked out."

Despite Crain's personal achievement, the White Sox fell to 29-41 on the season and have just one win in their last nine games.

"Trust me, if we knew, we'd be out of it already," Crain said of the skid. "It's been pretty frustrating. ... We can't think about previous days. We have to go out there and act like our record is 0-0 and try to win."

Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.