Kevin Slowey, Twins come up short in Opener of Rivalry Series

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A six run inning, 10 hits with two outs, six for 14 with runners in scoring position and three relievers combining for five innings, three hits and zero runs.

Most MLB teams would take every one of those stats in a heartbeat. For the Minnesota Twins last night, all of it still resulted in a loss to the Chicago White Sox—a very tough loss at that. The Twins have added a lot of digits to the “L” column over the past month. To be exact: 19 losses in the last 31 games.

As Thursday night’s game was ready to begin and the Twins starting pitcher Kevin Slowey threw his final warm-up tosses, the Target Field PA system blared the aptly titled “Slow Ride” by Foghat. The team and Slowey alike were hoping that his mound performance would be, like the song, a classic.

By Peter Christian

However, it quickly became apparent that wasn’t the case. Slowey struggled with his command and failed to properly locate pitches, which resulted in two quick runs in the first inning.

“I didn’t make enough pitches down in the zone and gave the top of the lineup too many pitches to get their bat on,” Slowey said after the game. “They’re veteran hitters and if you give them the opportunity to hit a line drive into the outfield and they will.”

The same was the case in the top of the second inning too as Slowey allowed a 408-foot home run to Gordon Beckham and another run scored on a sacrifice fly, the third of the game for the White Sox.

The Twins weren’t about to roll over and hand over a divisional game however. In the bottom of the second they sent 10 men to the plate, hit four consecutive two out hits and capped off the six run inning with a bases loaded double by Joe Mauer. The three RBI by Mauer were the most he tallied in a game since August 18th of last year versus the Texas Rangers. The six runs were the most the team had scored in the same inning since May 29th of this year, also against the Rangers.

Slowey was able to get through the third without any damage but gave up a lead off double followed by an RBI single which ended his night as Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had seen enough.

“It wasn’t a good performance, he didn’t get the ball where he wanted to, he was up in the zone,” Gardenhire commented in his post game press conference. “He was just missing. It wasn’t a good performance.”

Even though Slowey’s replacement was able to escape the fourth inning with the lead, that was not the case in the fifth. Alex Burnett allowed two base runners to start the inning and then allowed the tying run to score on a balk that can only be explained as a fluke. As Burnett started his delivery to A.J. Pierzynski with runners on first and third he caught a spike in the dirt on the mound and instead of wildly throwing the ball away, held on to it, resulting in a balk. Carlos Quentin scored and Mark Kotsay moved up to second. Kotsay scored later in the at bat when Pierzynski laced a double into left-center field, giving the White Sox back the lead that they would not relinquish. Chicago added one more run in the inning on a fielder’s choice which proved to be the game winner.

The Twins had their chances and were able to get hits against the White Sox bullpen, but they weren’t able to hit to tie the game. In the seventh, eighth and ninth innings the Twins were able to bring the tying or go-ahead run to the plate, but each inning ended with a strike out.

With the loss, the Twins now fall 4.5 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central. The two teams have three games remaining in their series at Target Field, which resumes on Friday at 7:10 (CT).

Peter Christian is the author of the Call-Outs and more for The Sports Bank. You can follow Peter on Twitter at http://twitter.com/peterchristian.

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