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Hicks belts two HRS in ugly 10-3 White Sox loss

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Center fielder Aaron Hicks sandwiched a pair of home runs around his leaping catch that took a home run away from Adam Dunn, and the White Sox porous defense led to three unearned runs in the Minnesota Twins’ 10-3 victory on Monday night.

After the Sox staked left-hander Hector Santiago to a 2-0 lead on Alex Rios’ RBI double and Dayan Viciedo’s sacrifice fly inn the first inning, the Twins scored four runs -- three unearned -- in the fourth to take the lead for good at 4-2. With the bases loaded and one out, shortstop Alexei Ramirez made an error on Justin Morneau’s grounder that could have been a force out at second. A sacrifice fly and a Ryan Doumit double later, and the Sox were down by two.

Ramirez’s error was the Sox’ 29th of the season, but almost every play that inning besides the miscue – which came on a tough chance -- was a Sox defensive adventure. Left fielder Casper Wells skipped a throw past Ramirez on Florimon’s double. Tyler Flowers couldn’t handle Rios’ one-hopper from short right on Willingham’s short fly, scrambling to the Twins on-deck circle to retrieve it while Santiago dashed to cover the plate. And worst of all, De Aza threw to third on Doumit’s sacrifice fly, allowing Morneau to take second.

There was more bad defense in the Twins’ eighth. A high pop fly by Oswaldo Arcia leading off the inning fell between a hard-charging De Aza and Ramirez, who was the only player with a chance to catch it but he cleared out of the say. After Hicks walked, Floriman beat out a sacrifice bunt when pitcher Deunte Heath was none to quick pouncing off the mound and throwing to first. That set the stage for a four-run inning highlighted by Justin Morneau’s three-run double.

“I feel it’s guys trying to do too much,’’ said third base coach Joe McEwing, who has an important role in overseeing the defense. “You try to make that big play, you try to rush and make every play.’’

Ramirez may have done that, trying to start a double play instead of making sure of one at second.

“I don’t think it’s lack of concentration by any means,’’ McEwing said. “The focus is there. The ability to make the plays is there. We’re not making some plays right now.’’

The Sox miss second baseman Gordon Beckham, who will take batting practice Wednesday or Thursday as he gets closer to returning from a broken hamate bone, in the middle of the infield. But that’s only part of the problem.

“At the end of the day, yeah, [defense is] focus,’’ said Beckham, who has been with the team as he works his way back. “You have to be thinking. You have to be into the game. If you’re thinking about the last at-bat, or last night, or anything, it’s going to take away from how well you play defense.

“It’s weird. That’s the only way I can describe it because I know how we can field the way we normally do. It seems like we can’t get any worse.’’



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