BY TYLER MASON
MINNEAPOLIS — White Sox rookie Carlos Rodon was good enough to keep his team in the game Wednesday night.
If only the Sox’ bats could have provided a little help.
Tommy Milone struck out seven in seven innings and Miguel Sano hit another monster home run to help the Minnesota Twins beat the White Sox 3-0 on Wednesday night.
The 22-year-old Rodon (6-6) certainly gave his team a chance. He allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. The White Sox hitters, however, couldn’t do much of anything against Milone and the Twins’ bullpen.
Chicago never got a runner past second base and finished with three hits, all singles. Milone (7-4) gave up the three hits and finished seven innings for the first time since July 8. Kevin Jepsen picked up his 10th save for the Twins, who started the day one game behind Texas for the second AL wild card.
“Winning is everything in this game,” Rodon said. “It’s tough. Just trying to keep it close for the team and let them do their job.”
Rodon stumbled early, allowing a solo homer to Sano to lead off the second inning. But the left-hander settled in after that and got the best of Sano the second time around. Hesitant to run on an injured hamstring, Sano slowly jogged down the first base line on a slow roller to first that the White Sox easily turned into a 3-6-1 double play in the fourth inning.
That helped Rodon to pitch into the seventh inning with Chicago trailing just 1-0. Rodon left in the seventh following a leadoff single by Eduardo Escobar, who eventually scored on a double by Trevor Plouffe. That run was charged to Rodon, who completed his third straight quality start.
Catcher Tyler Flowers’ errant pickoff throw to first base when Jose Abreu was not covering helped the Twins load the bases with no outs in the seventh. Plouffe followed with a two-out, two-run double off Daniel Webb to snap an 0-for-19 skid.
“For us, we have to score, we have to put something on the board to help him out,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. “All those guys want to talk about wins, and if we can’t put anything offensively, it’s going to be tough for them, especially after getting down 1-0.”
Rodon, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft out of North Carolina State, is at 118 2-3 innings this season. His ERA dropped to 4.10 after Wednesday’s loss.
Sano was named AL rookie of the month for August on Wednesday, but was late to the ballpark so he could get an MRI on his ailing right hamstring. The exam revealed a strain, but doctors advised that he could play through the injury, and the Twins desperately need his big bat in the middle of the lineup.
It didn’t take him long to make an impact. Sano led off the second inning with a 439-foot blast to dead center that hit halfway up the giant black wall behind the center field fence. It was his 15th of the season in just his 51st game.
The homer left Sano’s bat at 108 mph, but Rodon settled down after that. He struck out Eddie Rosario three times and got out of a two-on, no-out jam in the fourth without allowing a run.
RHP Frankie Montas made his major league debut for Chicago. The 22-year-old native of the Dominican Republic pitched a scoreless eighth inning and notched his first strikeout. He made 23 starts for Double-A Birmingham and was 5-5 with a 2.97 ERA.
Twins: Closer Glen Perkins was given the night off with tightness in his lower back. … GM Terry Ryan said RHP Phil Hughes, on the DL with lower back inflammation, will throw a bullpen on Thursday.
RHP Kyle Gibson (9-9, 3.82) will pitch for the Twins in the series finale against RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-11, 4.85). Gibson has a 0.56 ERA in 16 innings over two starts against the White Sox this season. Samardzija is 3-1 with a 5.12 ERA in his career against the Twins.