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Twins 4, White Sox 3: Early lead slips away

Andre Rienzo rebounds in second straight start against Twins, but bullpen can't hold slim margin

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

This might have been a game a fully loaded White Sox bullpen could have preserved. As it stands, it's the kind of game that made Jesse Crain a desirable trade target, even though he was (and is) hurt.

Entrusted with a 3-2 lead starting in the seventh inning, the bullpen wobbled and eventually fell down. Matt Lindstrom did his job in the seventh, but the heart of the order beat Nate Jones, and Ramon Troncoso finished it off.

Jones started out the eighth inning by striking out Brian Dozier, but Joe Mauer smashed a double to the left-center gap, and Justin Morneau singled him in despite a terrific throw by Avisail Garcia to tie the game. In the ninth, Ramon Troncoso gave up a single, Josh Phegley allowed a passed ball, and even though the Twins gave him an out with an unsuccessful sac bunt, Chris Herrmann's walk-off single made it a moot point.

Andre Rienzo remains in search of his first victory, even though he pitched well. He allowed just two runs (one earned) on four hits over six innings. He displayed excellent control -- he didn't allow a walk, and he didn't paint himself into many fastball counts, either.

The earned run was on him, as Trevor Plouffe extended his arms on a fastball out and over the plate and lined it over the wall in left center. However, another error by Alexei Ramirez set up the unearned tally. Dozier hit a grounder to Ramirez's left, and a bit of a tricky hop bit him. Dozier advanced to second on a Mauer groundout (Rienzo didn't cave in on a full count), and after Rienzo struck out Morneau, Josh Willingham picked him up with a single to center, narrowing the Sox's lead to 3-2.

Rienzo only threw 91 pitches, so he probably could've started the seventh. The Twins had started squaring him up better, hitting a few deep flyouts to right field, and with Plouffe leading off the seventh, Ventura's hook was a precautionary one.

The offense could have done a little more. They burst out of the gate in a professional manner, with Adam Dunn delivering an RBI single and Paul Konerko a sac fly for a quick 2-0 lead off Mike Pelfrey. Alejandro De Aza's speed generated another run in the third. He walked, stole second, advanced to third on a soft grounder to the left side and scored on Ramirez's sac fly.

But the Sox offense went dormant after that, only really threatening in the seventh. Conor GIllaspie and Phegley started with a singles, and Gillaspie took third on Jordan Danks' flyout to center. But Ron Gardenhire called on LOOGY Caleb Thielbar to face De Aza and retired him on a first-pitch pop-out. Jeff Keppinger faced a different pitcher, Josh Roenicke, and popped out to first, leaving a much-needed insurance run 90 feet away.

Bullet point:

  • Keppinger took the field for Gordon Beckham in the bottom of the fourth. Beckham left with a right quad strain.
  • Rienzo retired Mauer all three times he faced him.

Record: 46-74 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights