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Nolasco has trouble shaking Chicago blues

Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The Twins needed right-hander Ricky Nolasco to buck a career trend on Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, but one rough inning led to more of the same in a 9-6 loss.

Nolasco went into the game against the White Sox with an 0-3 record and 7.13 ERA in four career starts at U.S. Cellular Field. He left after 5 2/3 innings with those numbers even worse; though he lasted at least five innings for the 15th time in 16 starts, he allowed seven runs on nine hits, including three solo home runs.

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CHICAGO -- The Twins needed right-hander Ricky Nolasco to buck a career trend on Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field, but one rough inning led to more of the same in a 9-6 loss.

Nolasco went into the game against the White Sox with an 0-3 record and 7.13 ERA in four career starts at U.S. Cellular Field. He left after 5 2/3 innings with those numbers even worse; though he lasted at least five innings for the 15th time in 16 starts, he allowed seven runs on nine hits, including three solo home runs.

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Four of the runs charged against him scored in the sixth after the Twins trailed just 3-1 going into the inning.

"I felt fine," Nolasco said. "I felt a lot better than [my] last start. I thought I was good enough to kind of salvage the game there, keep us close for the last few innings, but it just didn't work out."

This is the second time Nolasco struggled against the White Sox in Chicago this season, after also losing here on May 6. He allowed seven runs (five earned) in five innings in that outing, which Chicago won, 10-4.

This was Nolasco's second straight defeat after a loss on June 23 against the Phillies at Target Field. In that game he allowed four runs on 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings. After walking four against the Phillies, Nolasco only issued one to the White Sox. Home runs and a slew of hits were the biggest stumbling blocks this time.

Nolasco has yielded eight, 10 and nine hits in his past three starts, respectively.

"I would say his last start was one where he was challenged by not having a good fastball, and he kind of had to invent as he went along," manager Paul Molitor said. "Today I thought he had better stuff. His fastball was pretty good, but they made adjustments."

Nolasco's biggest struggles came in the sixth, when the White Sox broke open the game with five runs on five hits. Three of those hits were off Nolasco, including a solo home by Todd Frazier to start the inning. Nolasco also allowed a double by Dioner Navarro and a two-out RBI single by Tyler Saladino.

Molitor made a trip to the mound prior to Saladino's at-bat and decided to leave his starter in for one more hitter. Saladino sent a shot past Eduardo Nunez into left field after Nunez appeared to get his glove on the ball.

"[Nolasco] did OK," Molitor said. "He gave up the home run to Saladino [in the fifth], but you got to a situation there in the sixth inning where we're trying to get off the field and I thought he had enough left to get the last out. Got the ball to third base that we couldn't make a play on, and from there the floodgates kind of opened."

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minnesota Twins, Ricky Nolasco