Pitchers knocked out early in loss to Sox
CHICAGO (AP) -- Francisco Liriano's night was over because of something he rarely does -- giving up the long ball.
Liriano yielded three home runs to the Chicago White Sox, lasting only 2 2-3 innings, and the Minnesota Twins lost 7-4 Monday night.
Liriano (3-10), who pitched a no-hitter at U.S. Cellular Field on May 3, 2011, gave up homers to Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.
He surrendered seven hits and a season-high seven runs in losing his third straight. Entering the game, he'd yielded only three homers in his previous 70 2-3 innings and just nine all season.
"I wasn't throwing anything down in the zone. I was missing my spots most of the time. I didn't have anything going for me tonight," Liriano said. "I couldn't locate my pitches. It was one of those nights."
Minnesota had plenty of chances against Chicago starter Gavin Floyd, who came off the disabled list earlier Monday. But Chicago's defense turned five double plays -- four while Floyd was pitching.
The Twins' first three batters got on to start the game, but Minnesota managed just one run from the bases-loaded, no-out situation because Josh Willingham hit into his first of two double plays.
"We got a lot of men on base, but we kept hitting into double plays," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We hit the ball hard. We hit some bullets. We just couldn't get the ball to go through. ... They made some great plays out there turning some sharp double plays."
After Liriano departed, Minnesota's bullpen didn't allow another run over the final 5 1-3 innings.
"Frankie was obviously up and the ball was absolutely flying out of there tonight. He got the ball up and they made him pay," Gardenhire said.
Dunn's homer was his majors-leading 29th and came in the midst of a 2-for-27 slump.
"Like I said the offense sputtered for the last probably 10 days. We were able to get Gavin some runs early," Dunn said.
Chicago lost 7 of 10 on a three-city road trip after the All-Star break and fell out of first in the AL Central to the surging Detroit Tigers.
But Dunn insists it's way too early to start looking at the scoreboard. Chicago trails the Tigers by a game.
"We've got two months of baseball, real meaningful baseball," Dunn said. "The goal is to get out of this little funk we're in now and when it matters get hot. Who knows what is going to happen?"
Making his first start in 16 days after being sidelined by elbow tendinitis, Floyd (8-8) wasn't sharp. He walked six, gave up six hits and three runs -- two earned. Addison Reed got his 16th save in 19 chances and got some help when a leaping catch by shortstop Alexei Ramirez saved a run on Joe Mauer's liner.
"I think that's part of what Gavin needs to do. I think all our guys realize we can play defense," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said, pointing to the play of Ramirez and second baseman Gordon Beckham.
"Those two in the middle did a great job of getting ground balls and getting Gavin out of some situations," Ventura added. "If they get through or you don't get those double plays, it's a different kind of game."
Minnesota's Ryan Doumit hit his third homer in two games, a solo shot off reliever Jesse Crain in the eighth.
NOTES: Twins slugger Justin Morneau was reinstated from a paternity leave after the game and the Twins optioned Chris Parmelee to Triple-A Rochester. Morneau had been with his wife when she gave birth Saturday. ... Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe, who hurt his right thumb Friday, was out of the lineup again. He was examined by a doctor and Gardenhire said he has a bruise near a nerve and is on medication. Plouffe will be re-evaluated daily. ... The announced crowd of 37,788 was Chicago's second sellout of the season.