If uniform says Twins, Sox struggle
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Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavno, left, and catcher Drew Butera celebrate their 4-1 win over the White Sox Wednesday. The Twins have had the Sox number of late.
When it comes to playing Minnesota, the White Sox don't discriminate.
In recent seasons, the Sox have had their hands full with the major-league version of the Twins, losing 12 of their last 14 heading into Wednesday's game at Target Field and 26 of 33 dating to the 2009 season.
After being rained out Tuesday, the White Sox met a Minnesota team that had a decidedly Triple-A look.
With key players such as Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, Denard Span, Jim Thome and Joe Nathan on the shelf with injuries, the Sox figured to roll over a lineup featuring obscure players like Brian Dinkelman, Drew Butera, Luke Hughes, Matt Tolbert and Ben Revere.
Instead, it was the same old stuff for the White Sox in a 4-1 loss.
Credit one of the Twins' recognizable faces — starting pitcher Carl Pavano — for sticking the Sox with yet another loss. Pavano has been on quite a roll lately, and the veteran right-hander kept it going with a complete-game effort.
"I feel like I'm settling in a little better as far as getting a little stronger and consistent with the things I'm trying to establish, and so is the team," Pavano told reporters. "There are a lot of guys who have stepped in, because we have a lot of injuries, and picked up a lot of guys."
Pavano picked up the White Sox' offense and slammed it to the turf as the Twins improved to 3-0 against their AL Central rivals so far.
Brent Morel's RBI single in the sixth inning was Pavano's lone blemish, and he worked out of some potentially big trouble in the ninth after Juan Pierre led off with a single and went to third on Alexei Ramirez's double.
Instead of going to the bullpen, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire stuck with Pavano, and the move paid off.
Carlos Quentin went down swinging for the first out, Paul Konerko lined back to Pavano, and A.J. Pierzynski grounded out to third base to end yet another forgettable White Sox-Twins game.
Gardenhire had closer Matt Capps ready in the ninth inning, but he stuck with Pavano.
"Just looking over at the other side, I wanted somebody who can spin the baseball," Gardenhire told reporters. "Carl can spin the ball as well as anybody. I trust him. I trust him in those situations."
Minnesota always has had a knack for doing whatever it takes to beat the White Sox, and that trend continued with a watered-down lineup. The Twins exploited one of the Sox' biggest weaknesses by stealing five bases off Gavin Floyd, who also went the distance.
They also had 2 bunt singles, while Pavano got the White Sox to ground into 4 double plays.
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