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White Sox make history, swept by Twins

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Updated: June 22, 2014 10:39PM



MINNEAPOLIS — Robin Ventura knows what four-game sweeps can turn into. In 1994, a very good White Sox team was swept by the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome and went on to lose five times in six games after that.

Ventura was the Sox’ third baseman 20 years ago, and he is their manager now. The Twins’ 6-5 victory Sunday at Target Field completed their first four-game sweep of the Sox since June 1994 and dropped the South Siders a season-worst six games below .500 at 35-41. With three games in Baltimore and four in Toronto before the 11-game road trip is over, Ventura knows where this might be headed.

‘‘You have to keep it simple,’’ Ventura said after the Sox’ seventh consecutive road loss and eighth defeat in a row against an American League Central team. ‘‘You have to forget the bad stuff and think about the good stuff and go from there. Any time you want to sit there and pity yourself, you are going to get buried. Nobody cares. You have to be able to pick yourself up off the mat and compete, and then it works out.’’

Ventura recently warned his players about being distracted by speculation that veterans will be traded should the Sox fall out of playoff contention in the coming weeks.

‘‘That’s stuff you don’t have control over,’’ slugger Adam Dunn said. ‘‘If we play good, take care of our business, we’ll see how much we like our teammates. If you play good and you win, you’ll stay.’’

Dunn, who has had a productive start to what might be his last season with the Sox — he’s in the final season of a four-year, $56 million contract — knows the team will look to save a little money and take a prospect if a contender has a spot for a player with 452 career home runs.

‘‘That’s the obvious one,’’ he said. ‘‘But I’m a seasoned vet when it comes to that stuff. I’ve been traded so many times [in speculation], it’s ridiculous.’’

Dunn said it’s a good thing the Sox have ace left-hander Chris Sale starting Monday in Baltimore.

‘‘Especially with an 11-game road trip, that’s not how you want to start it off,’’ Dunn said of the sweep. ‘‘Everybody is going to lose four in a row; it’s going to happen.’’

And it can get worse.

‘‘We need to play as a team a little bit better,’’ shortstop Alexei Ramirez said. ‘‘We have a lot of games left, so we can still do this.’’

John Danks is no Sale, but his last four starts gave the Sox reason to think he could prevent a sweep. But Danks allowed six runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings, struggling with his command from the get-go and failing to hold a 5-3 lead after the Sox sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs in the third.

The Twins scored three runs in the fourth on RBI singles by Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer and a go-ahead sacrifice fly by Josh Willingham. A little bobble by Ramirez on an infield single by Danny Santana helped set the table for that inning.

Gordon Beckham doubled in two runs, Jose Abreu collected his 56th and 57th RBI with a single and Conor Gillaspie drove in a run with a single against Twins starter Phil Hughes in the Sox’ five-run third. After that, though, the Sox managed only one more hit.

‘‘We scored five runs; that should be plenty to win a ballgame,’’ Danks said. ‘‘Go out there and give it right back in a five-inning span is a tough pill to swallow.

‘‘This team is pretty resilient. . . . I look for us to come out [Monday] fresh and ready to go. We’ve got the right guy [Sale] going.’’

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CST_soxvan



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