White Sox blow late lead to lose 5th straight, join list of MLB teams with historically awful starts to a season

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Chicago White Sox were finally able to score some runs Tuesday night in Minnesota during what’s been a monumental offensive malaise to start the season.

Unfortunately for the White Sox, their nightmare April continued nonetheless.

Chicago held a three-run lead going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but Minnesota scored twice in the eighth and twice in the ninth to walk it off with a 6-5 victory, handing the White Sox their fifth consecutive loss and putting them on an ignominious list with some other teams to have historically awful starts to a season.

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Chicago joined Cincinnati in 2022, Detroit in 2003, the St. Louis Browns in 1936 and the Cleveland Spiders in 1899 as teams to start a season 3-20 in MLB history. The 1988 Baltimore Orioles began 1-22.

“We’ve got to win games, man,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said. “Bottom line.”

Blown save

Despite seeing their 5-2 lead cut to 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth, the White Sox still held a ninth-inning lead and turned to right-hander Steven Wilson to finish it off.

The lead was gone quickly.

Byron Buxton launched Wilson’s second pitch off the left-field foul pole for a game-tying solo homer.

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With one out, Wilson (1-2) walked Carlos Santana and gave up a double to Ryan Jeffers, putting runners on second and third. Wilson recovered to strike out Christian Vazquez for the second out, but Alex Kirilloff grounded a 3-2 pitch through the right side to score pinch-runner Austin Martin with the winning run.

The Twins have won three of four after a five-game skid.

“We’ve been putting in the work to snatch games like that,” Buxton said. “Those will be the wins that get us back on track and get us going.”

Strong start

Things were going pretty well for the White Sox through 7 1/2 innings, as Eloy Jiménez hit a three-run homer and starter Erick Fedde struck out a career-high 11 batters.

Fedde allowed one run on three hits — all in the first inning — in his best performance since signing with Chicago during the offseason. The right-hander spent 2023 pitching in South Korea.

After his rocky first inning, Fedde retired the next 13 batters in order. That included two strikeouts each in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings.

Jiménez’s three-run homer just inside the left-field foul pole gave Chicago a 3-1 lead in the fourth. Twins starter Pablo López threw 38 pitches in the inning, his last. It was the second time in his past three starts he was pulled after four.

Andrew Benintendi then put Chicago ahead 5-2 with a two-run single in the eighth, but with six outs to get, the White Sox couldn’t hold the lead.

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Kirilloff struck out four times before coming through with his second career walk-off hit.

Jay Jackson (1-1) allowed one run in two innings of relief for the Twins, striking out four.

“If you want to be successful,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said, “you’ve got to find ways to win games that are really not going your way and they’re stressing you in a tough fashion.

“Not a lot went right for a while in the game, but you find a way.”

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Up next

Chicago LHP Garrett Crochet (1-3, 5.61 ERA) is scheduled to face RHP Joe Ryan (0-1, 3.57) Wednesday night in the third game of the four-game series.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m.

The four-game set in Minnesota concludes Chicago’s seven-game road trip. The White Sox open a six-game homestand Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays to begin a three-game weekend home series.

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