CHICAGO (AP) - Sloppy defense and a stagnant offense slowed down Scott Diamond's productive start to the season.
The Twins committed three errors and couldn't get anything going on offense against Chris Sale as Minnesota fell 6-0 to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
Diamond (3-1) failed to win for the first time this year. He gave up nine hits and five runs, two earned, over six innings. He struck out four and walked one.
``You take away three of those runs if we would have caught the ball, we'd be right there in the ballgame,' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``It's unfortunate because we've been catching the ball really, really well.'
Minnesota had committed just one error in its previous eight games. The Twins entered the game with the worst record in the AL, but had gone 5-1 on their current road trip.
Diamond gave up an unearned run in the first and two more in the sixth. His only real mistake was a two-run homer to Alex Rios in the fourth inning when he left an 0-2 pitch over the plate.
``It's a case of me wanting to throw too many strikes and being a little too fine,' Diamond said. ``Next time I have to get that pitch in a little more, see how his reaction is and adjust from there.'
Diamond still left the game with a 1.78 ERA on the year.
Sale (5-2) held the Twins to two hits and two walks, striking out six. Trevor Plouffe's flare single to right field in the fifth inning was the only ball to leave the infield against the Chicago lefty.
``He didn't give us much of a chance,' Gardenhire said. ``From that angle sidearm, that's really tough on lefties. He ate some righties up, too.'
Sale has allowed three runs or fewer in all eight of his starts in his first year as a member of the Chicago rotation.
``Part of pitching is finding a groove and rolling with it,' Sale said. ``I felt early that I got into a groove and AJ (Pierzynski) back there calling one of the best games I've seen him call in a while. It was fun to be out there.'
Still showing a black eye after getting hit in the face by a pitch last Friday, Paul Konerko had three hits and scored three times. He connected in the seventh for his ninth homer of the season and extended his hitting streak to nine games, during which he's batting .548 (17 of 31).
The White Sox have won five of six.
Sale allowed just one runner past first base and induced the Twins to bounce into a pair of double plays. He's made a seamless return to the rotation over his past three outings after a brief shift to the bullpen, the team's response to his elbow soreness.
Chicago scored an unearned run in the first on Adam Dunn's RBI single, aided by an error from second baseman Jamey Carroll. The White Sox tacked on two more unearned runs in the sixth on an RBI double by Pierzynski and an RBI groundout by Orlando Hudson, with right fielder Darin Mastroianni dropping a fly ball during the inning.
Joe Mauer reached base three times for Minnesota on a single and a pair of walks. He's reached base in 13 of his past 18 plate appearances.
NOTES: Cole DeVries will make his major league debut for the Twins in the series finale on Thursday. He takes the mound against Phil Humber (1-2, 5.31 ERA). ... DeVries was called up on Wednesday and was 1-4 with a 4.24 ERA in eight starts at Triple-A Rochester. He struck out 37 and walked just seven in 46 2-3 innings. ... DeVries is one of three native Minnesotans on the Twins active roster.
The Associated Press News Service
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