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White Sox give up five stolen bases in 4-1 loss to Twins

Carlos Quentwho went 0-for-4 struck out twice heads dugout after striking out ninth inning. | Hannah Foslien~Getty Images

Carlos Quentin, who went 0-for-4 and struck out twice, heads to the dugout after striking out in the ninth inning. | Hannah Foslien~Getty Images

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Updated: October 16, 2011 12:17AM

MINNEAPOLIS — The run- down White Sox needed a good night’s rest Wednesday night. They can’t afford to play Minnesota this afternoon with a run-down feeling on the heels of a 4-1 loss because the last thing they can afford is to get caught napping and inject even more life into the Twins.

Riddled by injuries but finding a way to recover from a horrible start that found them written out of the 2011 American League Central playoff picture, the Twins (27-39) — who always come to life against the Sox — won for the 10th time in 12 games while improving to 3-0 against the South Siders this season.

“I never count those guys out,’’ said manager Ozzie Guillen, whose team can only hope for a split of a two-game series with their long-time nemesis because of Tuesday’s rainout. “Those guys, for some reason, in the second half, they come on fire. Those guys know how to play the game. They don’t make many mistakes. Even when there are a lot of kids out there, they don’t make many mistakes.

“That’s the reason they’re in the pennant race every year.”

The Twins, who have won six in a row and nine of their last 10 against the Sox, had five stolen bases without getting thrown out by the Sox’ easy-pickings run-game defense, and the Sox hit into double plays in the second, fifth, sixth and eighth innings. Spending extra time of late working on it, they’ve allowed 61 stolen bases in 75 attempts.

Why the Twins had their way on the bases against starting pitcher Gavin Floyd and catcher A.J. Pierzynski depends on whose point of view you side with.

“Gavin slide-steps every time they take off,’’ Guillen said, defending the pitcher. “Those guys are pretty fast. There’s nothing you can do about that.’’

Said Pierzynski: “We all know where we stand with the running game when Gavin is out there. Everyone knows where we stand, and it’s just part of the game.’’

Michael Cuddyer had a career-high three stolen bases on a long night for Pierzynski, who hit into a sharp double play in the second and rolled out to third base with runners on second and third to end the game against starter Carl Pavano.

Pavano (4-5), who’s 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA in his last three starts, allowed a single by Juan Pierre and a double by Alexei Ramirez to start the ninth but struck out Carlos Quentin (0-for-4, two strikeouts) and got Paul Konerko on a liner back to the mound before retiring Pierzynski to complete a six-hitter.

“He was getting ahead with the sinker, and we hit some balls hard for double plays,’’ Pierzynski said. “He made great pitches, made them when he had to and was in control of the game. Gavin threw the ball well . . . but Pavano was better.’’

Floyd (6-6) had one rough inning, the three-run third. It began with a strikeout of ninth-place hitter Drew Butera but continued with five consecutive Twins reaching base, including back-to-back doubles by Ben Revere and Alexi Casilla.

Casilla and Cuddyer (walk) pulled off a double steal. Delmon Young then singled up the middle to score a pair, and the Twins led 3-0.

The Sox missed a chance to score first when Adam Dunn led off the third with a double off the left-field wall and moved to third on Gordon Beckham’s ground out to second — a productive out that earned him high-fives in the dugout.

But Brent Morel grounded out to third, keeping the slow-footed Dunn at third, and Pierre ended the threat with a check-swing roller to Pavano.

Morel singled in Beckham (double) in the sixth to make it 3-1. Any hopes of adding a run were dashed when Pierre grounded hard back to Pavano for a double play.

“Anytime you can get on the board and get to a guy like him early in a ballgame, you have to try to do it,’’ Dunn said. “We had opportunities, but we couldn’t capitalize.’’

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