MINNEAPOLIS — The White Sox’ skid hit five on Friday night, and in all-too-familiar fashion.
Bad defense and listless hitting doomed them in a 2-1 loss after Michael Kopech held the Twins scoreless through five innings and the bullpen carried the shutout to the eighth inning.
On one awful defensive sequence in the eighth, throwing errors by shortstop Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score.
Remarkably, it was Anderson’s sixth error in three games that got the deciding sequence rolling, a throw past Abreu on a two-out infield single to Anderson’s right hit by Carlos Correa. Ryan Jeffers, who had doubled with two outs against Kendall Graveman, scored on the play, and when the ball got by Abreu, the first baseman threw toward home with Luis Arraez at third, but the ball eluded catcher Reese McGuire, who was well up the line, allowing Arraez to score the go-ahead run.
“That game is completely on me, had an 0-2 count [vs. Jeffers] and didn’t make a pitch that led to that,” Graveman said. “Tough pill to swallow.”
The Sox were hitting .167 with 15 runs scored in their previous seven games.
Eloy Jimenez led off with a double, and the Sox loaded the bases with one out in the ninth against Emilio Pagan, but McGuire popped out on a nine-pitch at-bat and Jake Burger struck out looking on a 3-2 count to end the game.
“Very tough loss,” manager Tony La Russa said. “We had a chance to add a run, and in the ninth inning we had a chance, but, guy on second base, we didn’t drive him home.”
On the ground ball by Correa, Anderson said he “was trying to get an out, and the ball got away from me. You saw it. I can’t really explain, just trying to make a play.
“It’s a learning process. We’re going through something that is really tough right now. We have to keep grinding and working. We’ll play ourself out of it.”
In this one, Kopech was excellent again, striking out seven, walking one and allowing three hits while lowering his ERA to 0.64.
Andrew Vaughn hit his third homer against Bailey Ober leading off the fifth for a 1-0 lead. McGuire followed with a double, but Burger struck out, Anderson tapped to the mound and Leury Garcia (1-for-4, three strikeouts) struck out, leaving McGuire stranded.
McGuire helped Kopech by catching Jorge Polanco trying to steal second, ending the first inning.
He also helped by hustling outside the first-base line to make a sliding stop of second baseman Garcia’s errant throw headed for the Twins’ dugout on what looked like a routine double play, keeping Miguel Sano out of scoring position in a one-run game.
“I had better command of my pitches today,” Kopech said. “I was able to feel myself in my body a little bit better than I had my first two. I definitely felt more comfortable out there today.
“They did a pretty good job of laying off some pretty close pitches. I kind of got in my own head a little bit, thinking I had some of those calls. Then I went back and looked, and I didn’t.”
Kopech said the Sox (6-7) will be resilient through a tough early-season stretch.
“No one is concerned about this skid that we’re on right now,” he said. “It sucks. Nobody likes to lose. At the end of the day, we can look around this clubhouse and see what this team is made of and what we’re capable of in the upcoming games, no matter who we’re playing. I don’t think it’s anything to be really concerned about. I think we’re going to get our feet back under us.”