- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Phil Hughes was pitching well enough to warrant a better outcome.

The slight misplacement of a seventh-inning pitch to Jerry Sands was all the Chicago White Sox needed to put this game away. The way the Minnesota Twins have been hitting, a comeback at that point seemed impossible.

Carlos Rodon worked his way out of trouble several times to complete six scoreless innings, Sands hit a two-run home run and the White Sox kept the Twins winless with a 3-0 victory on Wednesday night.

At 0-8, the Twins have been outscored 33-13 this season. They struck out nine times and lead the majors with a whopping 88 whiffs. They went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and fell to an abysmal 5 for 61 this season, an .082 batting average.

“Three runs seems like a big mountain right now just because of the fact we’re having trouble putting tallies on the board,” manager Paul Molitor said. “We had a couple opportunities. Once again, a few opportunities that we did have with men in scoring position, we couldn’t get that hit.”

Hughes (0-2) struck out seven, two by Sands. Hughes tried the same cut fastball he used for strike three on Sands the previous two times, but this one stayed out too much over the plate.

“Especially when the guys are struggling to score and we’re already down 1-0, to give up two runs right there is kind of a tough spot,” Hughes said.

The only other winless team in the majors is Atlanta, also 0-8. The Twins beat the Braves in that epic seven-game World Series in 1991, so some 25th anniversary this season is turning out to be for the two teams.

Rodon (1-1) needed 107 pitches to make it as far as he did. He walked five, including the leadoff man twice, but the Twins left the bases loaded in the sixth after filling them with one out. David Robertson pitched a perfect ninth inning for his fourth save in as many attempts.

Rodon struck out five in a six-batter stretch his first time through the Twins lineup. The 23-year-old left-hander was more vulnerable in the subsequent at-bats, but he didn’t cave.

Miguel Sano’s walk and Trevor Plouffe’s single gave the Twins a lift to start the sixth inning, but Rodon struck out rookie Max Kepler and retired Kurt Suzuki on a foul popup behind the plate to leave the bases loaded.

“It becomes the natural thing when things are going this way to press and feel like the previous night is weighing on you the next day, which we can’t do,” Hughes said. “It’s difficult. It’s the story and that’s what’s happening. Everybody knows about it and is reading about it. We come in and things are being said, and we’ve got to find a way to block that out and treat tomorrow like it’s the first game of the season and not worry about this hole we’ve dug ourselves.”

WELL, AT LEAST THERE’S MAUER

Eduardo Escobar (.367) and Joe Mauer (.393) are the only Twins regulars hitting above .185, and Mauer is the only position player with more walks (five) than strikeouts (four). Mauer’s early bounce back from a career-worst season has been one of the few bright spots. He made a couple of slick plays in the field at first base as well.

TRAINER’S ROOM

LHP Glen Perkins was in the process of conferring with the team’s medical staff about treatment for his injured shoulder, which will keep him on the DL longer than the minimum 15-day stay. Perkins was told he has some fraying of the labrum as well as a strain of the rotator-cuff muscles, but he said he didn’t believe he’d need additional tests. RHP Kevin Jepsen has taken over as the closer in the meantime.

UP NEXT

RHP Mat Latos (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will take the mound for the White Sox on Thursday in the series finale, looking to follow up on a stellar debut with the team. He surrendered just one hit over six scoreless innings last week for the win at Oakland. RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, 2.25 ERA) will pitch for the Twins. He gave up two runs over seven innings with six strikeouts last September to beat the White Sox in his only appearance against them in 2015.


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