Twins deal White Sox fourth loss in row

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Mike Pelfrey, left, heads to the dugout after being taken out of the baseball game by manager Rick Renteria, during the fifth inning against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, May 9, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Manager Rick Renteria received good grades for guiding the White Sox through a so-so first 30 games in which they won 15 and played relatively decent baseball.

Considering the low expectations for the team coming out of spring training, playing .500 ball into May has been seen as a success.

‘‘For the most part, they prepare well, they’ve been hustling and we’ve been getting some good relief pitching,’’ Renteria said before the Sox opened a six-game homestand Tuesday on a flat note, losing to the Minnesota Twins 7-2 before a chilled Dog Day crowd of 14,498 people and 463 pooches.

For the most part, there have been no good grades to be given for the Sox’ last four games, all losses. Was something needed to nudge Renteria’s team after this one?

‘‘I didn’t say anything to them,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I already said my piece in Baltimore. The fact is, we didn’t score many runs today. [The Twins] did, and they kept tacking them on.’’

Renteria oozes positive vibes, but it was evident after the Sox were swept last weekend by the Orioles — and after he was ejected Sunday — that even he was disappointed. The Sox have gone 2-7 since building a 13-9 record with a 10-inning victory April 29 against the Detroit Tigers.

All in all, general manager Rick Hahn put a happy face on where the Sox are — at least before the game.

‘‘All of us are very pleased with the work Ricky and his staff have done thus far,’’ Hahn said. ‘‘That has translated, ultimately, to perhaps a little better record than a lot of people outside that clubhouse predicted for this team.’’

The Sox opened a 2-0 lead against left-hander Hector Santiago (4-1) on RBI singles by second baseman Tyler Saladino and first baseman Jose Abreu in the third inning. But Kennys Vargas homered against Mike Pelfrey (0-3) as the Twins posted three runs in the fourth, then they added four more against Dan Jennings and Chris Beck in the sixth.

‘‘That pitch to Vargas was almost right down the middle and ruins the evening,’’ said Pelfrey, who failed to finish the fifth. ‘‘Obviously, I need to get deeper in the game.’’

In the sixth, right fielder Avisail Garcia and center fielder Willy Garcia bobbled RBI hits by Ehire Adrianza and Byron Buxton, allowing them to take an extra base.

The Sox’ lineup, meanwhile, couldn’t capitalize on five walks by Santiago, whom Hahn traded to get outfielder Adam Eaton in 2013. Santiago, who has won five consecutive decisions against the Sox with a 1.13 ERA, gave up three hits in 6⅔ innings.

‘‘I’ll have some texts here in a few minutes from those guys, saying, ‘Stop killing us,’ ’’ Santiago said.

There wasn’t much to like about this beating, but Hahn said he likes what he sees from the coaching staff as the organization tries to lay a foundation for the future in the first year of a rebuilding plan.

‘‘From the things we stated going all the way back to the organizational meetings and through spring training we felt were important — creating the right environment, culture, focusing on the things that are important as an organization — Ricky and his staff have done a great job. We’re really pleased with where the club sits.’’

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.



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