- Associated Press - Sunday, July 31, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Byron Buxton flashed both the potential that made him baseball’s top prospect in recent years, and the struggles that has observers questioning whether he’s ready for the majors.

Buxton factored in two of Minnesota’s runs in the Twins’ 6-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night, including an exciting sequence in the third in which the speedy outfielder scored from first. But he also finished the night hitless and drew boos in the ninth on a bunt pop-up in foul territory.

“Still working on the little things he needs to do,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.

Michael Ynoa (1-0) walked the bases loaded three batters after Buxton’s pop out, but got Brian Dozier on a pop out to third. Avisail Garcia hit a leadoff double against Fernando Abad (1-4) in the 10th, and then scored easily when Dioner Navarro drove a fastball from Abad to the left-field corner for his third hit of the night.

Buxton helped account for both of Minnesota’s runs off Chicago starter Miguel Gonzalez, who frustrated Twins batters all night.

Gonzalez scattered six hits, struck out five and lasted seven innings for third time this month. Minnesota’s first run against him the first six innings came in a three-error third that saw Buxton flash his impressive speed on the bases. He reached when Jose Abreu failed to make a play at first. Throwing and tagging errors by Navarro allowed a leaping Buxton to score and bring the crowd to its feet.

“He’s electric, steal a base and turn it into a run just with a little bit of bobbling in the outfield there,” Molitor said. “It was exciting and certainly a pick-me-up for our club.”

Then, in the seventh, the Twins made it 4-2 on Buxton’s RBI groundout.

Buxton also made an impressive catch in center. He’s still batting .199 though, and continues to struggle with bunts.

“That can’t happen, especially late in the game,” Buxton said. “I’ve got to get the bunt down.”

Minnesota was one out from completing a comeback win when Melky Cabrera’s two-out single in the ninth scored Tim Anderson to make it 5-all heading into the bottom half. The Twins nearly pulled off their second walkoff win in two nights when Ynoa walked Max Kepler to load the bases for Dozier.

Eduardo Escobar hit a two-out, three-run homer in the eighth off Matt Albers to put the Twins up 5-4. But Brandon Kintzler blew his first save opportunity in nine chances on Cabrera’s third RBI of the night.

“It’s a disappointing game, but it’s entertaining,” Molitor said.


Twins starter Tommy Milone worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs and nine hits. He looked solid early, but yielded hits to five of the last seven batters he faced. The White Sox scored two runs with two outs in the fifth.

“It’s kind of been my M.O. the whole year it seems like,” Milone said. “Get those first two quick outs and then you know they string a few hits together, a couple runs, and it’s definitely frustrating. I’ve got to do a better job of making my pitch with two outs there.”


White Sox: LHP Carlos Rodon (2-7) is expected to be activated Sunday and start his first game since July 5. Rodon went on the DL earlier this month after hurting his wrist when he stumbled on dugout steps.

Twins: Ervin Santana (3-9) goes for his first win in three tries against the White Sox this season. Santana lost his previous start despite throwing a complete game against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

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