The slumping Minnesota Twins started the second half of the season with an 8-7 loss last night to the division rival Chicago White Sox.
In a matter of a few weeks, the Twins have dropped from first place to third place, 4 1/2 games behind the Sox in the AL Central. Pitching has been one of the team's problems, and last night pitcher Keven Slowey struggled from the start.
"I didn't make enough pitches down in the zone," Slowey said. "I gave the top of their lineup too many pitches to get their bat on. Those guys are veteran hitters."
Slowey was tagged for five runs on nine hits in three innings and Alex Burnett (1-2) gave up three more runs in relief.
"It wasn't a very good performance," manager Ron Gardenhire said of Slowey. "He didn't get the ball where he wanted to. He was up in the zone."
These two teams were headed in opposite directions going into the all-star break, with the White Sox going 25-5 to take a half-game lead in the division. It's been a startling turnaround for a team that was 24-33 and 9½ games down on June 8.
The Twins have just six wins in their last 20 games and will play this entire series without All-Star first baseman Justin Morneau, who was placed on the disabled list with a concussion.
The biggest concern, though, is the starting pitchers, including Slowey, Nick Blackburn and Scott Baker, who have all been wildly inconsistent this year.
"It's the same group that took us a long way last year and we won a division with them," Gardenhire said. "Our job is to get them right as much as we can. If it doesn't work out, we have to make a decision and make a move."
The Twins and White Sox play again Friday night.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)