CHICAGO -- The worst season in Minnesota Twins history at least had an upbeat ending on Sunday. The Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 6-3 to finish 59-103 -- the most losses since moving to Minneapolis-St. Paul in 1961 -- but closed with three wins in their final four games. Byron Buxton went 2-for-4, including a lead off inside-the-park home run, and reached base three times to pace the Twins. Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said it will take time to assess a season which started with nine straight losses as the Twins never found their footing. "It's kind of a mixed bag," he said. "It's too soon to put it all into the mix in terms of trying to sort it all out and try to find the positives, try to find what to build on. (We'll) look at some of the things where we fell short, that will probably be a little bit longer." At least Molitor has plans to stick around. Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura announced that Sunday's game was his last. "I just feel it's the right time, it's more of a personal decision than anything," said Ventura following Sunday's game. "I finished what I signed up to do." Ventura's contract expired with the end of the season. A published report last week suggested the White Sox were willing to offer a new one if Ventura was willing. Chicago bench coach Rick Renteria is expected to be named Ventura's successor. He managed the Cubs in 2014 before being dismissed. Minnesota never trailed on Sunday as Buxton took left-hander Chris Sale's first pitch and launched it to center for his first career inside-the-park shot. "I took off hard and between first and second I saw they didn't have the ball," he said. "When I saw them waving me home, I was like 'okay, we've got to go, we've got to hurry up.' and I tried my best to hurry up and get there." Buxton scored twice and added two RBI to help shoot down White Sox left-hander Chris Sale's bid for a career-high 18th victory. The White Sox finished 78-84 with losses in three of their last four. Twins starter Jose Berrios (3-7) earned the win while allowing one run on four hits, striking out three and walking three in a five-inning outing. Minnesota closer Brandon Kintzler worked a one-two-three ninth for his 17th save. Sale (17-10) gave up five runs on six hits, walked one and struck out six in a five-inning outing in his career-high 32nd start of the season. He finished the season with 233 strikeouts, the sixth highest in White Sox history, as well as a career-best 226 2/3 innings. Buxton made the most of his first start as leadoff batter with his first-pitch inside-the-park home run for a 1-0 Twins lead. Buxton filled in for Brian Dozier, who sat out the game with a strained oblique. It was the Twins' second inside-the-park homer this season and first by any opponent at U.S. Cellular Field since Texas' Ian Kinsler had one on Aug. 23, 2013. The speedy Buxton doubled into the left-field corner in the third inning to advance Logan Schafer to third. Schafer scored on Jorge Polando's sacrifice to center for a 2-0 lead. Miguel Sano's 25th home run of the season with one out to left brought home Buxton and Robbie Grossman for a 5-0 lead. The White Sox got one run back when first baseman Jose Abreu's two-out RBI single -- his 100th RBI of the season -- drove in Adam Eaton in the last of the third. Abreu is the seventh player in major league history with 100-plus RBIs in each of his first three seasons. Right-hander Juan Minaya, who entered in relief of Sale, loaded the bases in the sixth inning and Jacob Turner came in to walk Buxton to bring home Max Kepler for a 6-1 lead. Chicago's Melky Cabrera made it 6-2 in the seventh with a fielder's choice grounder that scored Eaton. In the eighth, Omar Narvaez's ground out to first brought home Avisail Garcia to cut the Twins led to 6-3. NOTES: Twins 2B Brian Dozier exited Saturday's game with right oblique soreness and sat out Sunday's finale. He closed the season with 42 home runs, tied for third in the majors coming into Sunday's action. ... The Twins' bullpen had a 4.62 ERA entering Sunday, the highest in the AL and fifth highest in MLB. It's the highest bullpen ERA by Twins since the 2001 season (4.97). ... The Twins open the 2017 season on April 3 at home against the Kansas City Royals. ... Chicago surpassed its win total from last season (76-86) but finished with a sub-.500 record for the fourth straight year -- all under manager Robin Ventura. ... Sunday's game marked the last played at the ballpark under the name U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox open the 2017 season on April 3 against Detroit at the renamed Guaranteed Rate Field under a new naming rights agreement that takes effect Nov. 1.
Buxton fuels Twins' victory over White Sox
The Sports Xchange | Oct 2