Defeat in last game of 2018 gives White Sox 100-loss season

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Yolmer Sanchez #5 of the Chicago White Sox reacts to striking out against the Minnesota Twins during the fifth inning of the game on September 30, 2018 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775137685

MINNEAPOLIS — And on the last day of the season, the White Sox lost for the 100th time.

It took a four-game sweep at the hands of the Twins, 11 losses in their last 14 games and 18 of 24 to get 100 losses pinned on the Sox for the fourth time in franchise history and the first since 1970.

If there’s any consolation, the Sox (62-100) clinched the third-worst record in the majors the night before to ensure the third pick in the draft behind the Orioles and Royals next June, a nice kernel to pocket for a rebuilding team. In the first year of the rebuild last season, they lost 95 games and drafted fourth.

Some might say this is progress in the name of strengthening draft position, but this season, even in teardown mode, can only be viewed as a disappointment.

“It’s been a lot of ups, a lot of downs,’’ second-year manager Rick Renteria said Sunday. “Probably more downs than ups.

“Obviously, we have a long way to go.’’

The Sox went down to the wire running on fumes, with two of the three current starting pitchers they say are future rotation pieces — Lucas Giolito and Carlos Rodon — finishing horrendous months by failing to last two innings. On Saturday, the Sox broke the major-league record for strikeouts in a season and featured two make-you-wince plays in the field.

One was a catchable fly ball that dropped between right fielder Avisail Garcia and second baseman Yoan Moncada. The other was a botched double-play attempt on a comebacker to pitcher Thyago Vieira, who, instead of throwing to Moncada on the bag, threw to shortstop Jose Rondon standing well off the base a few feet away.

Rondon had the presence of mind to get an out at first, but it sure looked comical, enough to make many in the Target Field press box laugh out loud. And so it went for the Sox, who were swept in a four-game series here for the second time in four seasons with a 5-4 season-ending defeat.

The Sox struck out 15 times, including twice in the ninth inning after Moncada doubled off the wall to put the tying run in scoring position. Moncada got no farther, the game and season ending on Leury Garcia’s deep fly to right-center against Trevor May.

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Once again, the Sox finished fourth in the American League Central, a fifth consecutive year in the same spot after finishing fifth and last in 2013.

The players could see 100 on the horizon.

“Oh, we saw it coming and tried to do everything we could to avoid it,’’ left-hander Hector Santiago said. “All we had to do was win one game against a team that was out of it.’’

“You don’t want to lose 100 games in a season,” Moncada said, “but it’s part of the process. We’re going to be stronger next season because of all the things we went through.’’

Moncada was at the plate to open the ninth inning for what could’ve been the final moment in the career of Twins great Joe Mauer. Mauer, who broke in as a catcher, dramatically emerged from the dugout in catcher’s gear and walked to the plate, the playing field all his own stage, as fans, teammates and Sox alike applauded. The plan was for Mauer to catch one pitch from Matt Belisle, and Moncada granted his request to take the pitch, a ball.

“He told me, ‘Thank you,’ ’’ Moncada said. “It was very emotional. It was very exciting. I’m just glad to be a part of that.”

“That was a cool moment,” Renteria said.

As for his team, Renteria can only hope there will be more of those in the future.

“The numbers are what they are,” he said. “I have to reflect on how we got to that point, the things we need to do to correct it and move on.”

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