Twins offense uncharacteristically dominated by Chicago's Gavin Floyd
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Liam Hendriks delivered a steady performance, but the Minnesota Twins offense was unable to figure out Gavin Floyd on Tuesday night in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Throughout his career Floyd has struggled mightily against the Twins, to the tune of a 6.29 ERA and .314/.369/.514 opponents' batting line.
But on Tuesday he might as well have been Justin Verlander.
Floyd held the Twins scoreless on five hits in seven innings, striking out nine and walking nobody. Floyd struck out every Twins hitter at least once except for Alexi Casilla.
"Everything was working for him today, from curveball, slider, inside-outside with the fastball, and then his changeup," Ben Revere said. "You do that... It's kind of tough to score runs off of that."
Earlier this year the Twins tagged Floyd for nine runs on eight hits and three walks in just 3 2/3 innings.
Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the ninth, the Twins rallied to load the bases with two outs against Chicago closer Addison Reed. Jamey Carroll's soft liner to right field drove home two to cut the lead to 3-2, but Denard Span grounded out to end the game.
Hendriks pitched effectively for the first time since April, holding the White Sox to three earned runs on five hits and a walk while striking out five in 6 1/3 innings. His most glaring mistake was a hanging slider to Alex Rios, who drove the pitch deep into the left-field seats for a two-run blast in the top of the fourth inning.
"I think he's got me in his books twice now on hanging sliders," Hendriks said. "I stand by the pitch. If it was down, I mean he's going to put the same swing on it and he's going to hit a groundball, and hopefully we get a double play out of it. I just hung it a little bit. It's one of those pitchers you aren't going to get back."
Alexei Ramirez added a bloop, RBI single in the seventh.
Fastball command and falling behind hitters had been areas of concern for Hendriks, but he tightened things up on Tuesday, throwing 61 of his 92 pitches for strikes and limiting himself to only four three-ball counts.
"I was getting ahead with the fastball a lot, and it just sets up all your other pitches," Hendriks said. "I was going ahead with that and then I was able to get some first-pitch breaking stuff over, which is nice as well. I mean, I felt really good, felt really comfortable tonight."
The Twins' best scoring chances came in the first inning when Span led off with a double, in the third inning when Revere doubled with one out, and in the sixth inning when Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham each singled with one out.
But Floyd was able to put out fires in each instance.
"Gavin Floyd pretty much shut us down," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We didn't have that many opportunities. Not like (Monday) night when we had guys all over the place."
0: Career major league wins for Hendriks in 11 starts.
3: Strikeouts in the eighth inning for left-hander Tyler Robertson in his major-league debut.
15: Consecutive plate appearance in which Mauer had reached base against Floyd heading into Tuesday. The streak was snapped when Floyd struck out Mauer in the first inning.
20: Doubles for Span this season.
5: The number of times, in 17 career starts, that Floyd has held the Twins under three earned runs.
RHP P.J. Walters (shoulder) could head out on a rehab assignment as soon as this weekend.
Wednesday: vs. White Sox, 12:10 p.m., RHP Nick Blackburn (4-4, 7.45) vs. LHP Chris Sale (8-2, 2.24)
Thursday: Off day