MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Phil Hughes tossed eight strong innings and the Minnesota Twins beat Chris Sale for the third time this season, overcoming 10 more strikeouts by the Chicago White Sox ace in a 6-1 victory Wednesday.
Sale (6-4) reached double digits in strikeouts for the seventh straight game. He was trying to become the first pitcher in modern major league history with at least 12 in six consecutive starts.
The lanky left-hander’s streak of innings with at least one strikeout was stopped at 38 when Minnesota hit three doubles in a three-run fourth to give Hughes (6-6) the lead for good.
Sale is 1-3 with a 6.46 ERA in four turns against the Twins this season. Against everyone else in the majors, he is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 10 starts.
Sale allowed eight hits, one walk and six runs (five earned) in 6 2-3 innings. He left during a three-run seventh amid another stretch of sloppy defense by the White Sox, who have lost his last three starts.
It was the most runs given up by Sale in six starts since May 23 against the Twins.
Adam LaRoche, who had three hits, homered to start the second against Hughes. Early on, it appeared that might be enough for the White Sox as Sale opened with six strikeouts over the first three innings.
But Hughes settled in smoothly to win with eight innings and one run allowed for the second straight time. He gave up six hits and struck out five without a walk.
Brian Dozier, Kurt Suzuki and Shane Robinson each had two hits for the Twins, who are 9-4 against the White Sox this year while outscoring them 78-35.
Sale’s strikeout/innings streak was the longest since Johan Santana struck out at least one batter over 39 straight innings in 2002 for the Twins. Only Pedro Martinez (1999) and Randy Johnson (1998) had whiffed at least 12 over five straight starts since 1914, according to STATS research.
White Sox: Manager Robin Ventura said recently he didn’t think Alexei Ramirez, who has started all but two games at SS, was worn down. But Ramirez made his ninth error of the season and went 0 for 4 to drop his batting average to .220.
Twins: If he finishes his workout Thursday without trouble, OF Aaron Hicks (strained right forearm) will start a rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Rochester. GM Terry Ryan wouldn’t speculate on whether Hicks would return to the team when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list Monday. “Let’s see what he does down there,” Ryan said. “No promises.”
The White Sox play Detroit on Thursday in a rare series-opening afternoon start, with Carlos Rodon (3-1, 3.75 ERA) pitching against Alfredo Simon (7-4, 3.29 ERA) of the Tigers to initiate a four-game set.
The Twins have their last off day before the All-Star break Thursday, before traveling to Milwaukee for a three-game series with Trevor May (4-5, 4.03 ERA) taking the mound Friday against the Brewers.
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