MINNEAPOPLIS — Jose Quintana was excellent once again. The White Sox offense — and bullpen in the 12th inning — not so much.
Quintana pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball to lower his ERA to 2.89 — allowing one earned run or less for the fourth time in his last five starts — but the Sox could not muster anything more than Adam Eaton’s leadoff homer against Ricky Nolasco and four relievers before the Twins got a 2-1 walk-off win without getting a hit in the 12th inning. Dan Jennings hit a batter and walked one and Tommy Kahnle walked two, including pinch hitter Joe Mauer with the bases loaded, to force in the winning run.
Eaton also threw out Miguel Sano at home and Robbie Grossman at third from right field for his major league high 15th and 16th assists.
“I don’t know anybody who is playing a better right field than him,” manager Robin Ventura said.
Quintana has allowed two runs over three starts since he pitched in his first All-Star Game on July 12, which he said was a boost to his confidence.
“Absolutely,” Quintana said. “After that, I know I have more responsibility for the team.”
Other than that, the Sox, playing without Todd Frazier (flu), looked exceptionally anemic offensively. They have 16 hits in the last three games and one run scored in each.
The Sox fell to 50-53 and have no chance of being a .500 team at the trade deadline Monday.
Justin Morneau glanced down at his White Sox uniform and wondered what the reception might be like.
After all, Morneau played 11 seasons for the Minnesota Twins, won the AL MVP award in 2006, was an All-Star from 2007-10 and played on five AL Central championship teams wrapped around the Sox’ title in 2005.
“To go on the other side of it, some people’s feeling might not be as warm as you’d hope them to be,’’ he said.
Morneau, who batted fifth against the Twins as the Sox’ designated hitter in the first game of a three-game series, was speaking from a strange place for him, the visitors dugout at Target Field. A few hours later, when he stepped up to face Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco in the second inning, the fans gave Morneau a standing ovation.
“Hopefully everyone’s nice like they always have been to me in Minnesota,’’ he had said.
Turns out he was right.
Morneau then barely missed hitting his second home run as a Sox, lining a single off the right field wall for his eighth hit 35 plate appearances for the Sox, and he’s still finding his way after bouncing back from offseason elbow surgery.
“The swing feels good,’’ he said. “A couple days off [two no-DH starts missed against the Cubs at Wrigley Field] helped my body recover a little and sort of recharge the battery coming in here. I feel like I can go up there and battle.
“The amount of work it takes to get ready isn’t the fun part but stepping into the batter’s box and battling those guys is really all we play for. I’m comfortable doing that, and it’s good.’’
Rowand named AFL manager
Aaron Rowand, the popular center fielder on the White Sox’ 2005 World Series champion, will manage the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League. The Desert Dogs roster will be comprised of top prospects from the Sox, Astros, Dodgers, Cardinals and Nationals.
Rowand, an outfield-baserunning coordinator in the Sox system, stepped up his responsibilities this year after being a special instructor in player development in 2015.
Frazier scratched from lineup
Third baseman Todd Frazier (29 home runs) was a late scratch before the game with flu-like symptoms. Tyler Saladino, scheduled to play second, started at third and Carlos Sanchez played second. Frazier didn’t look well after the game and was available only in an emergency, Ventura said.
*Brett Lawrie continues to work through his hamstring issue that put him on the disabled list Wednesday retroactive to last Friday. Lawrie, who had missed one game before coming out of a game last Thursday, expressed some frustration talking about the injury that at first wasn’t expected to put him on the DL.
“It’s not even like a hamstring,’’ he said. “It’s like lateral. There are a couple other things in there, they are all kind of moving on each other so it’s not necessarily one thing.’’
Rodon likely Sunday
Manager Robin Ventura said Carlos Rodon, who seems fully recovered from a sprained left wrist, will likely start the series finale against the Twins. That would give James Shields two extra days rest with an off day Monday following his season-high 117-pitch outing against the Cubs Tuesday.
“Everybody gets an extra day,’’ Ventura said.