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White Sox continue to struggle vs. Central rivals

MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Tuesday's contest with the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field began a stretch of 12 games leading into the All-Star break that seemed favorable to the White Sox in regard to their ongoing push for postseason relevance.

Nine of those games would be played at home, six of them against Major League Baseball's worst teams -- Minnesota and Atlanta. It was a chance for Robin Ventura's crew to put a little distance between themselves and the .500 mark.

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CHICAGO -- Tuesday's contest with the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field began a stretch of 12 games leading into the All-Star break that seemed favorable to the White Sox in regard to their ongoing push for postseason relevance.

Nine of those games would be played at home, six of them against Major League Baseball's worst teams -- Minnesota and Atlanta. It was a chance for Robin Ventura's crew to put a little distance between themselves and the .500 mark.

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But the White Sox who dropped the series opener, 4-0, don't look like a playoff team. A 5-18 mark over their last 23 games against the American League Central reinforces that particular point.

"It's big. The other teams are hot. You lose a game, you actually lose two, because you lose one in the division," third baseman Todd Frazier said. "Not a good performance by us today.

"[Starter Jose Quintana] threw a great game. We have to find a way to muster up some runs there, and we just didn't do it."

Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson has a 5-1 career record against the White Sox, which had to be good news for him, as he began the night with an 0-5 record and 6.05 ERA on the season. But it might not have mattered who was on the mound for the opposition considering Quintana was starting for the White Sox.

The White Sox offense has not been consistently potent during the '16 campaign, with 12 hits in its last 98 at-bats with runners in scoring position, but it's consistently absent with Quintana on the mound. Quintana has received one run of support or none in eight of his last nine starts, during which he is 0-7 with a 4.57 ERA.

One mistake cost Quintana on Tuesday, a backdoor curve that Brian Dozier hit for a three-run homer in the sixth after Quintana had walked Joe Mauer with two outs. In Quintana's world, though, one mistake is one too many.

"I don't have control of the runs," Quintana said. "I say the same every time. But I don't have control, man. I try to keep going. I try to be better next time and keep going. Next time I'll be better out there -- better outing and better everything."

"Better everything" has become a mantra for the White Sox, who have slipped 8 1/2 games and nine losses behind the torrid Indians but remain in the AL Wild Card picture.

More losses such as the one on Tuesday, when they finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and that picture will change quickly.

"You've got to pick it up within your own division," manager Robin Ventura said. "Figuring you have 'Q' going tonight, you might be able to get something going. Any time it got going, it just got snuffed out."

"Maybe they know us a little bit. They know our tendencies a little bit more," said Frazier. "But no rhyme or reason. Gibson got us today. Tip your cap to him, but we've got two more to go."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox