CHICAGO — Derek Holland and pitching coach Don Cooper stayed with their routine while the left-hander piled up losses with a string of poor outings. They felt he was close to finding his form.
Looked pretty good Thursday night.
Holland pitched six effective innings and Yolmer Sanchez homered, leading the Chicago White Sox to a 5-1 victory over the sloppy Minnesota Twins.
Locating effectively on each side of the plate, Holland (7-13) yielded one run and three hits in just his second win in two months. He had allowed 20 runs and 20 hits in 11 innings over his previous five appearances.
“As Coop would say, ‘You’re not off by much, so you just got to continue to keep fighting through it,’ which I did,” Holland said. “Coop and I did a great job of continuing to work every single time out there in the bullpen and today was one of those days that you’ve got to reward yourself with that.”
Chicago had dropped six of eight before welcoming Minnesota to town for a five-game series. It was a prime opportunity for the contending Twins (65-62) to strengthen their playoff positioning, but the last-place White Sox (50-76) won three times.
Minnesota, which began the day with a half-game lead in the race for the second AL wild card, lost 4-3 on Wednesday night on Tim Anderson’s game-ending RBI single. Pitcher Jose Berrios (11-6) and first baseman Mitch Garver each committed a costly error in the series finale, and the Twins’ lineup was shut down by Holland and three relievers.
“Just not enough offense the last couple nights,” manager Paul Molitor said. “They outplayed us. We made mistakes and they took advantage. We just couldn’t get back in the game.”
The White Sox broke it open with three runs in the fourth. Yoan Moncada walked, swiped second for his first career steal and scored when Garver flubbed Nicky Delmonico’s one-out grounder.
With two out, two runs home and runners on the corners, Berrios made an errant throw while trying to pick off Kevan Smith at third. The ball went into foul territory and Smith scored easily for a 4-0 lead.
“I just held the ball too tight and threw it on the ground,” Berrios said through a translator.
Byron Buxton hit his 10th homer for Minnesota, which dropped to 9-7 against Chicago this season. Berrios, who tossed seven scoreless innings in his previous start against Arizona, struck out nine in 5 1/3 innings, but was charged with five runs, three earned, and four hits.
The White Sox finished the game with no position players on their bench after Moncada and outfielder Leury Garcia left with injuries.
Moncada, widely regarded as one of baseball’s top prospects, is scheduled for an MRI on Friday after departing with shin splints in his right leg. He also missed a couple games last weekend with shin splints.
“I think at this time, more than soreness, I felt pain,” Moncada said through a translator. “But I don’t think that it’s going to be something worse. It’s just like a pain.”
Garcia was pulled after three innings with back spasms. He is also considered day to day.
White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia was away from the team so he could be with his wife, Anakarina, for the birth of the couple’s second child, a boy named Avi. He could return to the lineup Friday night against Detroit.
Twins: C Jason Castro was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list. OF Zack Granite was recalled from Triple-A Rochester. … All-Star 3B Miguel Sano, who is on the 10-day DL with a stress reaction in his left shin bone, is working with assistant athletic trainer Lanning Tucker every day, according to Molitor. “We’re trying to do what we can to keep him moving in water and bike, whatever we can do,” Molitor said.
White Sox: C Geovany Soto (right elbow surgery) is doing strengthening exercises and hoping to return this season. “We still have to see how everything responds,” he said. “Everything has been going great.”
Twins: RHP Bartolo Colon (5-10, 6.66 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Toronto on Friday night. Colon is 3-1 with a 3.67 ERA in four August starts. LHP J.A. Happ (6-9, 3.90 ERA) pitches for the Blue Jays.
White Sox: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (7-10, 4.44 ERA) faces Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (9-8, 3.96 ERA) in Game 1 of the weekend set. Gonzalez is 2-0 in his last three starts, allowing just two runs in 20 innings.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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