Twins lose to White Sox 2-1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Philip Umber pitched seven scoreless innings and the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 Monday in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
Juan Pierre had three hits and scored a run for the White Sox, who ended a four-game skid.
Brian Dinkelman had a career-high three hits for the Twins, who have lost three straight and seven of 10. Luke Hughes had a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Umber (9-8) was making his first start since Aug. 18 when he was struck above the right eye by a line drive off the bat of Kosuke Fukudome. He gave up six hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter.
It was far different from his previous six starts where the right-hander was 0-4 with a 7.16 ERA. Only three times did Minnesota get a man to second base against Umber -- one of those was on a throwing error.
Matt Thornton pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings, and closer Sergio Santos allowed one run in the ninth before Chris Sale earned his sixth save in seven chances.
Anthony Swarzak (3-6) took the loss, allowing seven hits and struck out four in eight innings.
Minnesota's best threat against Umber came in the seventh when Danny Valencia led off with an infield single and moved to second two batters later on a bunt single by Luke Hughes. However, Rene Rivera hit into an around-the-horn double-play to end the inning.
It was the kind of start Chicago needed because the White Sox came to Target Field with a four-game losing streak, including a sweep in Detroit, to fall 8½ games behind the Tigers in the AL Central with 25 games to play. During the four-game slide, Chicago starters posted a 12.50 ERA while failing to get past the fifth inning. The White Sox bullpen wasn't much better with a 9.19 ERA in that time.
A.J. Pierzynski scored on a fielder's choice in the second and Ramirez had an RBI double in the third for a 2-0 lead. In each inning, Chicago left a runner on third base.
After Ramirez's double, Swarzak retired 12 of 14 batters. The lone batters to reach -- Alejandro De Aza and Pierre -- were each thrown out by Rivera trying to steal second.
With so much uncertainty around the Twins staff, Swarzak hopes a strong September will make him a contender for Minnesota's 2012 rotation. He'll get five or six more chances with Nick Blackburn done for the season, Francisco Liriano on the disabled list with a shoulder strain and Brian Duensing day-to-day with a right oblique strain.
Dinkelman, recalled from Triple-A Rochester Sunday, started at second base for Minnesota. He's been playing more outfield recently but he said infield is his natural position.
NOTES: Minnesota has lost 16 of 19 at home. ... Chicago DH Adam Dunn was 0 for 3. He's in an 0-for-16 slump. ... Twins reliever Glen Perkins, out since Wednesday with an injured forearm, was unavailable to pitch.