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Yet another game of error ball in White Sox’ ugly 10-3 loss

Updated: May 14, 2013 12:26AM

MINNEAPOLIS — The Sox led the American League with a franchise-record fielding percentage last season.

This year they rank last.

And are somehow getting worse.

Another bad act in the comedy of errors that is threatening to trash a 2013 season before Memorial Day was staged at Target Field on Monday night in a 10-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins. The box score shows one error, a misplayed grounder to shortstop Alexei Ramirez’s left that manager Robin Ventura saw as an inning-ending double play. But there was more bad defense for a team that — get this — was built on pitching and catching the ball.

The pitching has been good. The Sox went into the game with a 3.40 ERA, right behind the AL-leading Texas Rangers. But the defense has been miserable with 29 errors, missed cutoffs, misplayed pop-ups and opposing baserunners stealing bases at an 80 percent clip.

There was more of the same gawky horror miscue show in the Twins’ third inning, in which three of the four runs scored were unearned. Leading 2-0, starter Hector Santiago (1-2) got himself into a bases-loaded jam but had a chance to escape. Ramirez couldn’t cleanly glove Justin Morneau’s grounder and then one sacrifice fly and one Ryan Doumit double later, the Sox were down 4-2.

Almost every play that inning besides Ramirez’s error was an adventure. Left fielder Casper Wells skipped a throw past Ramirez on Pedro Florimon’s double. Catcher Tyler Flowers couldn’t handle a one-hopper from Alex Rios in short right on Willingham’s short fly, scrambling to the Twins’ on-deck circle to retrieve it while Santiago dashed to cover the plate. And Alejandro De Aza threw to third base instead of second on Doumit’s sacrifice fly, allowing Morneau to take second.

None of the throws were scored as errors. Every one of them made high school coaches everywhere scratch their heads.

There was more.

Ramirez cleared out of the way of a pop-up that a charging De Aza couldn’t get to and it fell in for a leadoff double in the Twins’ four-run eighth. Flowers couldn’t hold a pop near the rail of the Twins’ dugout and pitcher Deunte Heath played a sacrifice into a bunt single.

And to think manager Robin Ventura held a pregame meeting Saturday to talk about cleaning up the defense.

“Eventually you get to the point where if you don’t pay attention to what’s going on, we’ll find somebody else to do it,’’ Ventura said.

“We have to be better and work at it. Hector’s grinding, you have to help him out. He gets the ball he wants, and there’s lapses. We’ll work on it. We’ll have plenty of time to work on it.’’

On the other side of the field, the Twins sparkled. Center fielder Aaron Hicks had the night of his life, leaping above the wall to rob Adam Dunn of a homer and sandwiching two homers around the catch.

The Sox miss second baseman Gordon Beckham, a standout glove man who will take batting practice Wednesday or Thursday as he gets closer to returning from a broken hamate bone. But that’s only part of the problem.

“At the end of the day, yeah, focus [on defense],’’ Beckham said. “You have to be thinking. You have to be into the game. If you’re thinking about the last at-bat, or last night, or anything, it’s going to take away from how well you play defense.

“It’s weird. That’s the only way I can describe it because I know how we can field. It seems like we can’t get any worse.’’

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