MINNEAPOLIS — Underachieving is one thing. Doing it the way the White Sox have is another.
‘‘The White Sox, they should be ashamed of themselves the way they’re playing,’’ a veteran scout who has seen the Sox play about a dozen times in person this season said before their 6-2 victory Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins that snapped a seven-game road losing streak and a five-game skid against the Twins. ‘‘They had two good games against the Rangers [victories Saturday and Sunday], played good baseball, and then they come out and play a game like [a 13-2 loss Monday to the Twins]. It’s unacceptable. It’s shameful.’’
Those are strong words from a baseball guy. Baseball people see the same things fans see: poor defense and anemic hitting.
‘‘Errors, bad throws, mental errors,’’ the scout said. ‘‘Defense and guys not hitting in the clutch. For players, it’s not OK. This is the major leagues.’’
The type of game the Sox put together Tuesday have been much too hard to come by: Not only a strong start from Jeff Samardzija, who won for the first time in six starts despite pitching well in his last three, but an unusually clean defensive game. The Sox scored more than three runs for the first time in 10 games.
Situated at the center of the Sox struggle is 33-year-old shortstop Alexei Ramirez, an All-Star last season who is on pace to have his worst season. He went 0.-for-5, without a hard-hit ball, dropping his average to .223 while going 0-for-7 with runners on base.
‘‘Ramirez is going backwards on both sides,’’ the scout said. ‘‘He was one of the best in the game last year. Now he’s one of the worst.’’
Some wondered whether manager Robin Ventura would send a message or shake things up by resting Ramirez on Tuesday. Ventura, making a good point, suggested he could have sat down any number of Sox for not playing well.
‘‘I’m sure Robin is doing his best,’’ the scout said. ‘‘Maybe one time he should fake it and throw something against the wall. This is unacceptable, and Robin has to know it. Maybe he has handled it. I don’t know what is done behind the scenes.’’
The Sox, who have been outscored 59-19 in the first inning, fell behind 1-0 on Eddie Rosario’s homer in the first against Samardzija. But Samardzija allowed one more run in his seven innings and left with a 3-2 lead. Two of the Sox’ runs came on RBI singles by Geovany Soto, Samardzija’s personal catcher, who ended the Twins’ seventh by throwing out Byron Buxton, who was trying to steal second.
“Geo played a heck of a game today, he caught a great game behind the plate and had two huge hits that allowed me to take a breath and get back to work,’’ Samardzija said.
Samardzija had the type of pitching line that is required for the Sox to win these days: seven innings, eight hits, two runs, one walk, seven strikeouts. With a run differential of minus-79 entering the game, it’s remarkable the Sox aren’t worse than 31-39.
‘‘There’s plenty [blame] to go around for everybody,’’ Ventura said.
‘‘The fans see it; they aren’t dummies on the South Side,’’ the scout said. ‘‘All they want is to see the game played the right way.’’
There’s a good chance Chris Sale will pitch a game the right way when takes the mound in the series finale with a chance to give the Sox a series win on the road.
Sale, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson are the only pitchers to strike out 12-plus batters in five straight games. Sale, 3-1 with a 0.72 ERA over his his last five starts, goes for the record at 12:08 p.m.
Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.