CHICAGO – Byron Buxton hit the game’s first pitch for an inside-the-park home run, and the Minnesota Twins beat Chris Sale and the White Sox, 6-3, on Sunday in manager Robin Ventura’s final game with the Sox.
Ventura said after the game that leaving was “a personal decision.” He was in the last year of his contract.
Miguel Sano added a three-run homer off Sale (17-10), who allowed five runs and six hits over five innings.
The Sox (78-84) finished their fourth straight losing season despite Jose Abreu’s run-scoring single that gave him 100 RBIs.
Jose Berrios (3-7) allowed one run and four hits in five innings. The Twins (59-103) closed with two straight wins after setting the record for most losses since the franchise began play in Minnesota in 1961.
Brandon Kintzler got the final three outs for his 17th save in 20 tries.
Amid speculation Sale could be dealt in the offseason to start a rebuilding effort, the lefty got off to a bad start.
The speedy Buxton drilled Sale’s 93 mph fastball to center field, where Leury Garcia got turned around in pursuit. It landed over his head and bounced against the wall as Garcia fell awkwardly.
According to MLB’s Statcast, it took Buxton only 14.05 seconds to circle the bases, the fastest since it began tracking in 2015. Garcia complained of a sore hip and left an inning later.
After Sano’s 25th homer in the third, Sale got out of further trouble and retired his final seven batters. He struck out six to leave him with 233 and a 3.34 ERA.
Abreu’s single to left in the third made him the seventh player to collect 100 RBIs in each of their first three seasons in the majors.
VENTURA OUT, WHO’S NEXT?
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday that bench coach and former Cubs manager Rick Renteria likely will take over, but the team did not immediately announce a replacement. Sox general manager Rick Hahn is scheduled to address reporters today.
“I think he’s got a lot of qualities that Robin has. Maybe a little more vocal,” outfielder Adam Eaton said of Renteria. “He definitely will get his point across a little more, vocally. Not that he has more passion than Robin or anything like that, but he’s a little more upbeat, a little more bouncy. He’s kind of a bundle of baseball joy.”
Ventura went 375-435 in five seasons with the Sox. After an 85-77 debut in 2012 that wasn’t good enough for the playoffs, Ventura suffered through four consecutive losing seasons.
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier’s season ended two home runs shy of a record and one RBI short of 100.
Dozier sat out after exiting Saturday’s game with right oblique soreness.
“If we were play for anything, I’d be out there,” Dozier said. “But it would be dumb for me to go out there today.”
Dozier hit 40 of his 42 homers while playing second, two shy of the major league record at the position shared by the Braves’ Davey Johnson and the Cardinals’ Rogers Hornsby.
“Tough to watch him end like that given how much he’s played and knocking on the 100-RBI mark and those type of things,” manager Paul Molitor said.
Molitor summed up the season as “disappointing” and surprised “to have it blow up as quickly as it did.”
HITS & MISSES
Sox 3B Todd Frazier went 1 for 4 without an RBI to finish with 98. Frazier hit a career-best 40 homers, but batted only .225.
Twins: The 2017 season opener is April 3 at home against Kansas City.
White Sox: Will host Detroit on April 3 to open next season.