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Twins close White Sox series on sour note

Berrios falters as offense slowed in finale of 5-game set
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

CHICAGO -- It was the kind of series the Twins need to win if they're going to remain in the American League Wild Card chase.

Minnesota headed to Chicago for a rare five-game series and won two of the first three, setting them up well with Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios starting the final two. But after the bullpen couldn't hold a late lead Wednesday, the Twins were mostly listless against the White Sox in a 5-1 loss on Thursday.

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CHICAGO -- It was the kind of series the Twins need to win if they're going to remain in the American League Wild Card chase.

Minnesota headed to Chicago for a rare five-game series and won two of the first three, setting them up well with Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios starting the final two. But after the bullpen couldn't hold a late lead Wednesday, the Twins were mostly listless against the White Sox in a 5-1 loss on Thursday.

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It dropped the Twins to 5 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central, and they hold a half-game lead for the second AL Wild Card over the Angels, Mariners and Royals. It's a crowded field, and Minnesota needs to take advantage of a schedule that doesn't see the Twins play a team with a better record than theirs until they face the AL Wild Card-leading Yankees on Sept. 18.

"It's disappointing to have a chance to win the series and then lose the last couple games," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Just not enough offense the last couple nights. They outplayed us. We made mistakes, and they took advantage."

Video: MIN@CWS: Molitor on offensive struggles in 5-1 loss

Molitor didn't seem especially pleased with his club's effort from start to finish. He thought the hitters needed to adjust to what left-hander Derek Holland was doing, as they were chasing out of the zone, especially fastballs up. Holland entered with a 6.28 ERA but gave up only three hits, including a Byron Buxton homer, over six innings.

"Hopefully, there's a little lesson here," Molitor said. "You have to have that intensity from the first inning. You have to be ready to play from the get-go."

Berrios struck out nine but gave up five runs (three earned) over 5 1/3 innings, and the defense was sloppy behind him, including his own pickoff throw to third base that allowed a run to score. He acknowledged it was a tough series to lose but gave credit to the White Sox.

"They might not have a good record, but they're big leaguers," Berrios said through interpreter Carlos Font. "It's obviously not the best for us, but we'll continue to turn the page. We have another series coming up, and we'll turn our focus to that."

The Twins are putting themselves in a tough position, however, as they're headed to a ballpark where they've struggled in the past. The Blue Jays haven't played well this year, but the Twins haven't won a game at the Rogers Centre since 2014 and are 3-10 in Toronto since 2013.

"We just have to take the flight tonight ... and get ready against a club we know can swing the bats," Molitor said. "We'll have our work cut for us in Toronto."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minnesota Twins, Jose Berrios