MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Danny Valencia kept the Minnesota Twins from succumbing to Chicago White Sox rookie Zach Stewart's perfect game bid.
That was hardly solace for Valencia on another rough day - and night - for the humbled, struggling Twins.
``It's terrible. It's embarrassing, really,' Valencia said, before obscenely describing his team's performance.
Stewart finished with a one-hitter, and the White Sox completed a doubleheader sweep of the Twins with a 4-0 victory on Monday night.
The Twins were 21 up and 21 down against Stewart until Valencia's leadoff double in the eighth inning spoiled the right-hander's bid to become the 21st rookie in major league history to throw a no-hitter.
The White Sox won the afternoon game 2-1.
The Twins fell to fifth place, behind the Kansas City Royals, for the first time since June 17. They are guaranteed to finish with a losing record for just the second time in 10 seasons under manager Ron Gardenhire.
``It's frustrating for everybody, and it's something we need to change,' Valencia said.
The 24-year-old Stewart (2-3), whose only previous major league win came at Target Field last month, struck out nine in the first complete game of his career. This was only Stewart's fifth start for the White Sox - and eighth of his career - after being traded to Chicago by Toronto on July 27.
``He kept the ball down. He moved it in and out and kept us off balance,' Valencia said. ``He really did a great job out there.'
With black curly hair flowing out from under the back of his cap and an intense expression on his face, Stewart made up for a rough start against the Twins last week in Chicago. He gave up seven hits and six runs in 4 2-3 innings that time.
This time, Stewart dominated a lineup featuring only two regulars from opening day - Joe Mauer and Valencia. Mauer got good wood on the ball, sending an opposite-field fly to the warning track in the fourth inning and smashing a line drive that zipped straight to shortstop Alexei Ramirez to end the seventh.
``Joe killed that ball,' Gardenhire said, adding: ``What are you going to do? You've just got to keep swinging. Unfortunately for us, we just couldn't come up with anything.'
But Stewart worked quickly and enticed the Twins to swing at his first offering often, needing only 65 pitches to complete six innings. Valencia finally had him figured out in the eighth. He hit a hard liner that hooked foul and bounced into the seats behind third base before delivering a sharp drive to right field that skipped away from defensive replacement Alejandro De Aza for a sure double.
Valencia saw eight pitches in that at-bat and fouled off three straight before straightening one out on a 2-2 fastball. But Stewart shrugged that off and retired the last six batters he faced, striking out three.
``He made a good swing on the ball and put it in play,' Stewart said, hardly disappointed, ``and you've just got to tip your hat to him.'
Twins starter Scott Diamond (1-3) gave up eight hits, two walks and two runs in five innings.
``When you score one run all day, you aren't going to win many games,' Gardenhire said.
Philip Humber (9-8) set the tone in the matinee by pitching seven scoreless innings to snap a four-game losing streak for the White Sox. Chris Sale struck out Jason Repko with a man on first base to end the game.
Anthony Swarzak (3-6) took the loss for the Twins in the opener, allowing seven hits and striking out four in a career-high-tying eight innings.
NOTES: The Twins have lost 17 of their last 20 games at home. They have been outscored 108-55 in those games. ... LHP Glen Perkins, out since Wednesday with an injured forearm, was unavailable to pitch. ... The Twins will recall OF Joe Benson and 1B Chris Parmelee from Double-A New Britain before Tuesday's game. Benson was the organization's minor league player of the year in 2010. Parmelee was the team's first-round draft pick in 2006. ... Gardenhire held Jason Kubel (sore foot) and Michael Cuddyer (sore wrist) out of the night game. ... RHP Kyle Waldrop made his major league debut in the second game, giving up two runs in 1 2-3 innings. He's wearing No. 57, previously worn by Johan Santana.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved