CHICAGO -- Prosperity in the American League Central lasted exactly one game for the White Sox.
After ending a 12-game losing streak within the division by beating Minnesota on Saturday, the White Sox dropped a 5-2 decision to the Twins before 26,344 on Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox (44-72) dipped to 7-17 since the All-Star break, with Houston's 18 losses the only total greater in the AL during that stretch.
Simply put, the first-half White Sox pain has carried over to the season's second half.
"I've never experienced anything like this," White Sox captain Paul Konerko said. "You want to try to experience everything throughout your career, but this is one I wish we would have dodged. It's not fun.
"This is that year where you're like that team. I've never been on that before, I've never had to deal with that. It reduces everything to you have to really figure out something to get yourself going, pick out something to drive you through that day."
Jose Quintana (6-4) endured Sunday's loss, falling for just the second time since May 28 but also for the second time in three starts. And it really was one inning that cost the southpaw.
The game was scoreless into the fifth when the Twins (52-63) erupted for five runs, and erupted in the sense that the damage essentially was done over the course of five pitches. Chris Colabello singled and Doug Bernier walked one out later, and when Brian Dozier took a first-pitch ball in the ensuing at-bat, catcher Tyler Flowers trotted to the mound to talk with Quintana.
Whatever was said didn't seem to take, as Dozier launched the next pitch for a three-run homer. Dozier's 11th long ball was followed by Jamey Carroll's single and then a two-run shot by Joe Mauer.
"I feel bad. It was a bad inning, but it's part of the game," said Quintana through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "I felt like I did OK, but I was behind the count a little at times."
"We'll take the home runs, if that's the way we're going to score runs right now," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team has scored 23 of its 28 runs via the long ball during its road trip. "We won a series. It sure does seem like we missed a lot of opportunities, but we did put the ball in the seats."
Quintana exited after five innings, giving up six hits and two walks, while striking out six. The five earned runs allowed by Quintana matched his season high from his first start against Seattle on April 5.
That one fifth-inning blip or the loss as a whole doesn't detract from what Quintana has built up over the last two years as a starter, at least not in the mind of his captain.
"He's a really good pitcher. He's a big league starter. There's no doubt about that," said Konerko. "He's really poised out there. He's had a good year, besides that. He's even throwing the ball better than what the numbers would show.
"Just a little pitch here or a little call there or a ball that gets caught if you watch the whole season. So, when you have a day like today, where one pitch, the three-run homer, it's such a fine line, fragile thing between having a really good day and a bad day. But ultimately he's been good through last year and he keeps getting better."
Minnesota starter Kevin Correia (8-8) threw seven scoreless innings, without facing much trouble over the final five. The right-hander allowed five hits, walked one and struck out seven.
Correia did get a little help in the third from Alejandro De Aza's questionable baserunning. De Aza doubled to right to lead off the frame, but he was thrown out at third on Gordon Beckham's ground ball to Bernier at shortstop.
"If it's in front of you, you've got to go back," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "It's a mistake."
Right-hander Dylan Axelrod worked the final four scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out three. Adam Dunn and Conor Gillaspie homered in the ninth off of Casey Fien to avoid the shutout, but it wasn't enough to prevent a 22nd loss in 26 games against the AL Central for the team sitting at the bottom of the division, with front-running Detroit coming to town Monday.
"Nobody comes here every day and expects to lose," Dunn said. "We prepare every day to win that day and when things don't work out, you try to put it away and you know you've got another one tomorrow."
"Usually when you have a chance to win, you're scoreboard watching a little bit," Konerko said. "That kind of gets you through a lot of days and that just doesn't exist."