MINNEAPOLIS -- Jesse Crain extended his franchise-record scoreless appearances streak and Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn hit consecutive home runs on Thursday afternoon.
That was the extent of the good times to be had by the White Sox at Target Field.
John Danks surrendered a career-high four homers and Alexei Ramirez made a costly error as the Minnesota Twins handed the White Sox an 8-4 loss to close out a three-game sweep.
The White Sox, who have lost six of seven games on their current road trip, are now 12 games under the .500-mark, the lowest they have been since the end of the 2007 season. They open a three-games series at Kansas City on Friday night.
“Maybe aside from (Chris) Sale’s game in Houston, you can’t just point out one thing that’s gone right to this point,” Danks said. “We, across the board, have to play better. I didn’t do us any favors today by digging us a six-run hole. We’ll just have to play better as a whole. We know that. I’m not saying anything we don’t already know or haven’t talked about. Guys are working hard, trying to make it happen.”
Ramirez’s error in the sixth didn’t seal the deal -- Justin Morneau’s bases-loaded, two-run single off Matt Lindstrom did -- but it played a significant part.
Lindstrom was on the verge of pitching around a two-out double to Joe Mauer when Ryan Doumit hit a routine grounder at Ramirez. But Ramirez mishandled the grounder, his 11th error of the season, and the Twins took advantage. Lindstrom walked Josh Willingham and Morneau singled in a pair to give Minnesota an 8-4 lead.
Gordon Beckham also made an error, his third of the series, to give the White Sox 51 through 70 games. A team that committed 70 errors in 2012 is on pace to finish with 118.
“We aren’t helping (Danks) defensively, any of the pitchers,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We have to clean that up, give yourself a chance to come back and score like we did. But any time you’re giving them opportunities, they score two on giving them extra outs and you just can’t do it. The one thing we were really good at last year, we’re failing to do it this year.”
Danks (1-4) didn’t fare much better.
He pitched around a pair of first-inning hits but didn’t do as well in the second inning. Oswaldo Arcia, who Chris Sale hit in the back with a pitch on Wednesday, gave the Twins a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the second inning. Three batters later, Brian Dozier hit a two-run shot to make it 3-0.
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The home-run assault continued in the fourth inning when Clete Thomas and Eduardo Escobar hit back-to-back solo shots off Danks. It was the first time in Twins’ history that the 7-8-9-1 hitters have all homered in the same game.
Minnesota got one more off Danks -- who allowed six runs and 12 hits -- in the fifth inning when Arcia singled in a run to open up a 6-1 lead. Arcia finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Danks said what he and his teammates are experiencing may be worse than when the White Sox lost 90 games in his rookie season.
“We truly feel we’re way too good to be playing like this,” Dank said. “We feel we’re just as talented as any team in the league. We’re just not playing good. And we all believe we can turn it around tomorrow. We have to do it soon. We know that.”
The five-run cushion was significant because Twins starter Scott Diamond ran out of gas in the sixth inning.
Alex Rios singled before Konerko launched his first homer in 12 days to cut the deficit to 6-3. Dunn followed with his 19th to cut the lead to two.
Crain allowed a leadoff single to start the seventh inning. But Hector Gimenez nailed Arcia trying to steal second base as part of a strikeout, throw-out double play by Thomas. Escobar then grounded out to first base to extend Crain’s streak to 28 games over 28 innings.
Crain, who hasn’t allowed a run since April 12 and lowered his ERA to 0.55, called the team’s stretch of 17 losses in 22 games one of the hardest of which he has ever been a part.
“Trust me, if we knew we’d be out of it already,” Crain said. “It’s been pretty frustrating, probably the toughest spurt I’ve been on. We can’t think about previous day, we have to go out there acting like we’re zero and zero. And try to win. After Monday I thought we’d come in here and have a couple of good games but obviously that didn’t work out. Have to move to the next spot, forget about this game and try to win a series in Kansas City.”