MINNEAPOLIS — Finding different ways to lose becomes the thing on seven-game losing streaks.
Sunday’s awful flavor of the day for the White Sox in a crushing 6-4 loss was a walkoff home run in the 10th inning by the Twins’ Byron Buxton, a three-run blast to left against closer Liam Hendriks. It was Buxton’s second long ball of the game and it erased a one-run lead the Sox had taken in the top of the inning.
This latest gut-punching loss capped a six-game road trip in Cleveland and Minneapolis that featured awful defensive play, poor hitting and another big injury to a star player, Eloy Jimenez.
Having an off day Monday to recover seemed to be the only positive gleaned from all of it.
“I think it’s a good time for everyone to get away and clear their heads a little bit,” Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito said.
The Sox thought they’d enjoy it with a victory after Tim Anderson started the day with a homer on the first pitch against Chris Archer and Danny Mendick homered leading off the seventh for a 3-1 lead.
But left-hander Aaron Bummer failed to protect it, walking No. 9 hitter Jose Godoy to open the seventh before allowing an opposite field tying homer to Buxton, who had five RBI, in the eighth.
When Buxton came to bat again in the 10th with runners on second and third, first base was open. But manager Tony La Russa wasn’t keen on facing left-handed hitting Luis Arraez, a .354 hitter. So Hendriks pitched to Buxton.
“Any time you load the bases you better have a significant advantage with the guy on deck,” La Russa said. “Because you’re playing right into his hands and the guy on deck is a tough out. We had a better chance to do what Gio did to Buxton.”
What Giolito did in a four-inning, nine strikeout, one-run allowed performance coming off the injured list was strike out Buxton three times.
“I thought I threw the ball well,” Giolito said.
The Sox thought they might finally win when they took the lead in the 10th when Mendick, the designated runner, scored with two outs on Yasmani Grandal’s single off the wall against Joe Smith.
But Hendriks walked Godoy, the second walk issued to the catcher with no major league hits, before Buxton’s 469-foot homer.
“It’s not enough to say you played your hearts out,” La Russa said. “In this league there are certain executions. We did some things but not enough of them and we got beat. It’s a tough loss. But we all shared in it. Final score with the whole road trip, we’ll all wear it.”
Hendriks, who was getting treatment after the game because “his back stiffened on him a bit,” per La Russa, saw his ERA climb to 6.14 as he suffered his second loss.
“We checked him and he said he was good. He’ll get treated and get the rest tomorrow. He felt a little something but said he was good to go.”
“Just got to keep grinding it out,” Anderson said. “Nobody is going to really give us anything. It’s still early. We’ve got a whole season. We’ll take our punches now. Just keep chipping away. That’s all we can do, honestly.”