Loaiza, who finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting last year after going a career-best 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA, got off to a strong start in 2004, winning his first four decisions. But the veteran right-hander has slowed down considerably over his last three outings, yielding 16 runs and 25 hits over 21 2-3 innings, raising his ERA from 3.71 to 4.20.
Loaiza suffered a 4-1 loss to Minnesota on Saturday, yielding three runs and six hits over eight solid innings, striking out five and walking one in his best start since a seven-inning stint in Chicago’s 3-2 win over Tampa Bay on April 23.
The White Sox have scored a combined six runs in Loaiza’s last three starts. He voiced his frustration over the lack of support after Saturday’s loss.
“Our starters and relievers are doing the best job possible to win games. The hitters got to turn it around and try to get that extra base hit and get on early and late,” Loaiza said.
Chicago’s blowout win may have been costly. Outfielder Magglio Ordonez and second baseman Willie Harris both sustained injuries when they collided while trying to run down a fly ball in the seventh inning.
They both left the field unassisted, but Ordonez bruised his left knee and Harris hurt his left ankle and shin.
The Twins staged a memorable come-from-behind 6-5 in Toronto on Wednesday. Torii Hunter, Michael Ryan and Henry Blanco singled off Toronto closer Terry Adams in the ninth inning before Matt LeCroy belted a pinch-hit grand slam homer to put the Twins ahead. It was LeCroy’s first homer of the year and gave Minnesota seventh victory in nine games.
That stretch includes two wins during the Twins’ three-game series in Chicago last week.