White Sox: Hit By Pitch Leads to Series Sweep by Twins

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 31: Juan Minaya /

White Sox unable to hold one-run lead in ninth inning, blow save on bases loaded hit by pitch to complete sweep by Twins.

The Chicago White Sox were unable to win its third consecutive series as they were swept by the Minnesota Twins on Thursday with a 5-4 loss. Juan Minaya, who has assumed the closer role on the team walked the bases loaded, and then hit Max Kepler with a pitch that lead to the winning run scoring for Minnesota.

Since trading David Robertson and then Tyler Clippard, the Sox haven’t had a true closer. Minaya, who earned his first save against the Texas Rangers on Aug. 18 couldn’t record his fourth career save on Thursday. Alen Hanson‘s then go-ahead home run in the ninth inning went to waste for the Sox with Minaya’s blown save.

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Miguel Gonzalez started for the Sox who were without Jose Abreu and Tim Anderson on Thursday against Minnesota. Gonzalez posted a quality start by pitching six innings and giving up just three earned runs. The 33-year-old right-hander recorded five strikeouts and allowed just two walks against the Twins.

The Sox lead 3-1 over Minnesota going into the bottom of the fifth inning. Bartolo Colon, who was starting for the Twins gave up a RBI single to Rob Brantly and a RBI double to Adam Engel in the second inning. The Sox would score again in the fourth inning on a RBI single from Yolmer Sanchez.

However, the Twins who are currently 1.5 games in front of the Los Angeles Angels for the second American League Wild Card spot kept chipping away at the Sox early lead. Jorge Polanco, who has become a Sox killer recently hit a RBI double in the fifth inning to cut the Twins deficit to 3-2. Kepler would later follow with his own RBI double to tie the game at 3-3.

After Hanson put the Sox back on top in the ninth inning with a solo home run, Minaya would fail to prevent Minnesota from winning the game. The Twins began the bottom of the ninth with a single from Ehire Adrianza. After a bunt pop out from Zack Granite, Brian Dozier walked. Eddie Rozario would then hit a game tying RBI single to tie the game at 4-4.

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Minaya was able to induce a soft pop flyout from Polanco, but this came after a walk to Joe Maurer to load the bases. Kepler would get credited with the game-winning RBI after he was hit by a pitch from Minaya on a 1-0 count. The loss was the Sox 80th of the season to drop their record to 52-80. The Sox will begin a 10 game homestand on Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays.