Baseball / Sports

The Chicago White Sox's Gordon Beckham is congratulated by White Sox third base coack Joe McEwing as he passes third base on his home run in the first inning aganst the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, Friday, June 20, 2014. (Monica Herndon/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

White Sox rally to tie in 9th, but stumble 5-4 to Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is in a tricky position as his team nears the midway point of the 2014 season. Hahn can see there are holes that desperately need to be filled if the Sox are going to have a chance to contend in the watered-down American League Central.

But he also is committed to staying the course for the future, and doesn't have the budget to go for broke as predecessor Ken Williams liked to do before the trade deadline.

"The division is tight," Hahn said. "It doesn't appear as though anyone is going to run away. And we do know you have to treat opportunities to win as sacred, and we're not going to just forsake one.

"But it's important we remain focused on our longer term goals and try to put ourselves in position to win on an annual basis, and not just do something short-sided to jump up and maybe win one.

"So it may be a bit of a balancing act, but there's still time and we still do have some depth in the minor league system that will allow us to add without necessarily compromising our competitiveness."

Friday's 5-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins was a perfect example of how difficult it is to judge this team.

For much of the night, it looked like Hahn need not worry about the present. The Sox offense looked lethargic after Gordon Beckham and Jose Abreu homered in the first inning, and the Twins led 4-2 entering the ninth.

But then the lackluster offense magically reappeared, and the Sox staged a two-run rally off closer Glen Perkins to tie the game 4-4.

Dayan Viciedo's triple and Paul Konerko's pinch-hit, RBI single pulled them to within a run before Adam Eaton's run-scoring doubled tied it and put runners on the corners with one out. But after an intentional walk loaded the bases, Perkins escaped further damage when Conor Gillaspie grounded into a double play.

But then Daniel Webb issued a pair of walks and Ronald Belisario gave up the game-winning, RBI single to Brian Dozier to end it.

Pitching and defense have plagued the Sox all season, and the offense has been inconsistent since the hot start in April. The Sox began the day with a league-leading 641 strikeouts, a problem no one seems to be able to solve though they had only three Friday night.

"Yeah, you know what? We strike out too much," manager Robin Ventura said. "You're really working on some two-strike approaches. I mean, some guys are going to strike out. (Adam Dunn) is going to strike out. That's something he has done his whole career, and live with it.

"(But) a little shorten up with two strikes, put it in play. There needs to be more of that and guys have to be able to do that."

Can it be corrected?

"We're hoping it can be corrected," he said. "It's definitely something that we're focusing on. When you start striking out this much nobody has to play defense against you."

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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