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Chicago White Sox fall a season-high 18 games under .500 — and 11 out of 1st place — with a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins

The Chicago White Sox played their 100th game of the season Saturday.

Add the 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins to the long list of ways they’ve come up short in 2023.

A walk and an infield hit sparked a two-run rally that put the Twins ahead in the seventh inning. The Sox couldn’t capitalize on opportunities the final two innings on the way to falling a season-high 18 games under .500 at 41-59.

“We did some good things except win a game,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “And at this level, the bottom line is to win baseball games.”

The Sox received six strong innings from starter Dylan Cease. They used their legs to generate two runs, including Tim Anderson swiping home on a double steal.

But the big hits eluded them late, losing in front of 30,894 at Target Field.

“Disappointing loss,” Cease said. “We stayed in it to the end, we battled and, unfortunately, we didn’t come away with it.”

The Sox led 2-1 entering the seventh. With one out, reliever Keynan Middleton walked Byron Buxton, who stole second. Kyle Farmer reached on an infield hit on a slow tapper to third.

Christian Vázquez tied the score on a double against reliever Gregory Santos. The Sox brought the infield in and Michael A. Taylor singled sharply up the middle on a 3-2 pitch to give the Twins the 3-2 lead.

“Buxton is in scoring position right at home plate,” Grifol said. “He can hit the ball out of the ballpark at any time. He was careful and just ended up walking him. We had a chance to throw him out as well. It was a good throw by (catcher) Seby (Zavala), I think he would have been out. Maybe not out on the stolen base, but out on the overslide where he came off the bag. We didn’t make that play right there. And Vázquez and Taylor put together good at-bats.”

The rally meant another no decision for Cease, who allowed one run on three hits with nine strikeouts and two walks in six innings.

“I had a pretty good feel for three of my pitches,” Cease said. “Decent fastball command, just being able to throw pitches in the zone and put away pitches when I needed to.”

Cease has not factored in a decision in nine of his last 10 starts.

“Cease pitched a hell of a game today,” Grifol said.

Both Sox runs came in the third.

Anderson stood at third and Luis Robert Jr. at first after singles. Robert attempted a stolen base. As soon as Anderson saw the catcher Vázquez’s throw head towards second, he took off for home.

Robert was safe at second and Anderson easily completed the double steal.

Anderson became the first Sox player to be credited with stealing home since Billy Hamilton on Sept. 26, 2021, in Cleveland. In that double-steal sequence, Anderson got in a rundown between first and second, allowing Hamilton to make it home.

Robert scored on an RBI single to right by Yasmani Grandal. It was Grandal’s eighth RBI in his last five games.

Carlos Correa’s RBI double in the third cut the Sox lead to 2-1.

The Twins made the most of their chances in the seventh. The Sox just couldn’t get the big hit in the final two innings.

They had runners on second and third with one out in the eighth. Griffin Jax broke Jake Burger’s bat while getting him to line out softly to first. Jax struck out Gavin Sheets to end the inning.

Oscar Colás reached on an infield hit to begin the ninth. With two outs, Anderson also collected an infield hit.

That set up the terrific matchup of Robert against Jhoan Duran. The closer won that round, striking out Robert on a 102.5-mph fastball to end the game.

The Sox trial the first-place Twins by 11 games in the American League Central. And they are 18 under .500 for the first time since Sept. 28, 2019 (71-89).

“The top five guys in the order got on base 11 times,” Grifol said. “We were 1-for-(9) with runners in scoring position. It’s hard to win that way, especially on the road.

“We’ve got to be able to knock those guys in. (Did some) good things, but we didn’t win. All that matters is that ‘W’ in the win column.”