Twins 5, White Sox 3: Offense can't cover for sloppy bullpen

Josh Willingham giveth, then taketh away. - USA TODAY Sports

One bad inning by three relievers too much to overcome

Another cumulative base-loading effort by numerous members of the White Sox bullpen failed to bite them on Saturday. Today, however, showed why they shouldn't make a habit.

Attempting to protect a 2-1 lead, Matt Lindstrom started the seventh with a four-pitch walk to Trevor Plouffe. A fastball then got through Tyler Flowers' legs for a passed ball, and after a strikeout, Aaron Hicks ended an 0-for-23 slump with a bounced single to the right side to tie the game.

Lindstrom retired Eduardo Escobar for the second out, but Hicks stole second and moved to third on Jamey Carroll's infield single. Robin Ventura called for pinch-walker Donnie Veal to throw four straight out of the zone, and in came Crain with the bases loaded.

Crain started Josh Willingham with a slider, but it was up and on the outer half, and Willingham took it over Dewayne Wise's head to the base of the wall right of center to clear the bases.

That gave the Twins a 5-2 lead. Adam Dunn got one of those runs back when he ended an 0-for-32 slump with a solo shot to center, but the Sox went down in order after that for their third straight loss.

Dunn's homer was the only one the Sox really earned, as they relied on the Twins' mistakes to score their first two.

In the fourth, Alejandro De Aza hit a line drive to left that turned around Willingham, and it glanced off his glove for a double. He moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Jeff Keppinger's groundout to short.

After Gavin Floyd walked in a run to tie the game in the top of the sixth, the De Aza-Twins-Keppinger trio paid dividends once again. De Aza dragged a bunt to the right side. Scott Diamond fielded it and tried a soft toss to Jamey Carroll, but he air-mailed it into foul territory down the right field line. De Aza took third and came home on Keppinger's sac fly to left.

That allowed Floyd to exit with the lead, and he pitched well enough to win. He struck out six over six innings, and only got into trouble in the sixth. Escobar and Carroll singled with one out, and Joe Mauer drew a walk to load the bases. That gave Willingham his first crack with them loaded, but he hit a soft bouncer to Conor Gillaspie to get the force at home. Floyd then threw a six-pitch walk to Justin Morneau to tie the game, but he came back to strike out Ryan Doumit to limit the damage.

Bullet points:

  • The White Sox offense had twice as many strikeouts (10) as hits. Dunn struck out in his other three at-bats.
  • Tyler Flowers' swunt single was the only hit for the Sox the first time through the order. He also drew two walks.
  • The Sox short-circuited their fourth-inning rally when Alex Rios was caught trying to steal third on Dunn's strikeout. Their attempts to "make something happen" have resulted in the opposite.

Record: 7-11 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights

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