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Sox put together ‘clean game’ in 5-1 victory against Twins

Yoan Moncada was 3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles, and Ivan Nova yielded an unearned run and two hits in six innings.

Right-hander Ivan Nova has been one of the Sox’ few bright spots since the All-Star break.
Right-hander Ivan Nova has been one of the Sox’ few bright spots since the All-Star break.
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The second half of the season has offered few positives for White Sox fans.

The Sox were competitive and appeared to be headed in the right direction during a 42-44 first half. Since then, however, bright spots have been few and far between.

They hope their 5-1 victory Saturday against the American League Central-leading Twins will generate some much-needed momentum.

‘‘For everybody on the team, it’s a little bit frustrating because we had a really good first half,’’ rookie outfielder Eloy Jimenez said. ‘‘Now we are really having a little bit of a struggle. But I know it’s going to be back. We’re going to keep playing hard, and I know things are going to happen.’’

Manager Rick Renteria pulled the team together in the dugout after a third inning in which third baseman Yoan Moncada committed a costly error. Renteria didn’t get into much detail about what he said, but he clearly thought the Sox could and should play better.

Moncada had attempted to make a basket catch on a lazy pop fly. He missed the catch, and the ball landed just inside fair territory to score a run and tie the score 1-1.

‘‘I think they know we’re better than that,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘That’s all. Just reminded them we’re better than that.’’

Moncada made up for his error in a big way with his bat, cranking two doubles and his 20th home run. He had two RBI and two runs scored.

Right-hander Ivan Nova tossed a gem, yielding an unearned run and two hits in six innings. The Sox’ bullpen finished the job with three scoreless innings.

Nova has been one of the few Sox bright spots in the last month, and he might pitch his way into trade conversations.

‘‘My focus is here,’’ he said. ‘‘Whatever is gonna happen is gonna happen, but I cannot think about it. I want to stay here. I want to win games. If I get traded, I get traded. But there’s nothing I’m anticipating or asking for.’’

Renteria called the victory a ‘‘clean game,’’ which is something the Sox haven’t had many of since the break. They’ve scored 50 runs in their 16 games since the break and have been held to two runs or fewer 10 times during that span.

Some of the Sox’ struggles during that stretch can be attributed to the absences of Jimenez (bruised ulnar nerve in right elbow) and shortstop Tim Anderson (sprained right ankle). Jimenez has been out since July 16 and Anderson since June 25. Offensively, it’s hard to make up for such losses.

‘‘You are talking about two pretty good hitters,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘Not to diminish anything that the guys who are filling their shoes have been trying to do and are doing admirably. But it certainly wouldn’t hurt us or put us in a bad position to possibly get those guys back together. They are quality players, and we would like to have those guys.’’

On the mound, the Sox have a 4.89 ERA since the break. They’ve allowed 22 homers in 138 innings and have committed 15 errors.

‘‘We’ve had it handed to us a couple of times before this one tonight,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘This is one of the best teams in the big leagues right now. And for us to come out and put together pretty much a clean game . . . they showed everybody that we’re not going to lay down. We’re going to continue to play.’’