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Twins 8, White Sox 6: Bullpen collapse wastes resiliency

Zach Duke caves in during eighth inning for familiar outcome at Target Field in 2015

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to a respectable ERA, a good strikeout-to-innings ratio and a better batting average allowed, Zach Duke has been rather sneaky about his disappointing season.

He had nowhere to hide in the eighth inning tonight, though. With the game tied at 5, Duke not only gave up three runs, but he didn't retire any of the five batters he faced. Eduardo Escobar led off with a double, Duke threw away Kurt Suzuki's good sacrifice bunt for a run and a two-base error, Tyler Saladino let Byron Buxton's smash leak through his wickets, and, after an intentional walk to Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer singled to right center to make it a 7-5 game.

Daniel Webb inherited the bases loaded with nobody out and did what he could, allowing a sac fly to shallow center (Buxton beat an Adam Eaton four-hopper throw standing) and recording two strikeouts to keep it within a save situation, and one the Sox threatened in the ninth.

Glen Perkins wasn't exactly fooling the Sox. After Alexei Ramirez popped out to start the ninth, Gordon Beckham shot a single to center, and Trayce Thompson flied out to deepish center. Up came Adam Eaton, who fell behind 0-2 before hitting a smash to the right side that Joe Mauer corraled. However, Perkins didn't cover first in time, and Eaton beat Mauer to the bag to bring the tying run to the plate.

Of course, that tying run was Tyler Saladino instead of Jose Abreu. And of course, Saladino shot the first pitch to center for an RBI single to ensure he'll keep hitting second. But the game got to Abreu, and while he got the first-pitch fastball he was looking for, he could only fly out to deepish left center to end the game.

The Sox bullpen spoiled a nice resurgence by the White Sox offense, which trailed 4-0 after two innings but stormed back to lead it 5-4. Tyler Duffey faced the minimum through 4⅔ innings before collapsing during his quest for the third out of the fifth. Adam LaRoche kept the inning alive with a two-out single, after which Duffey walked Ramirez, Carlos Sanchez and Tyler Flowers to make it a 4-1 game. Eaton followed with a two-run single to narrow the gap to one run, but Saladino lined out to center to end the inning.

Abreu picked up where the Sox left off by starting the sixth with a ground-rule double to right field. Two batters later, Avisail Garcia turned on a hanging breaking ball and hit it out to left to give the Sox a 5-4 lead.

Chris Sale survived a second-inning battering to get the game into the seventh inning. His start:

  • Second inning: 1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
  • The rest: 5⅓ IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

But Nate Jones couldn't get out of the seventh with the lead. With two outs, he got ahead of Miguel Sano 1-2 before Sano worked the count full. He then threw a slider that didn't slide much, and Cano hit a no-doubter to tie the game at 5, and set the bullpen collapse in motion.

Bullet points:

*The White Sox dropped to 1-7 at Target Field this season.

*Eaton did what he could, going 4-for-5 out of the leadoff spot.

*Only one of Duke's three runs were earned, even though his throwing error contributed to the crooked number. See? Sneaky!

Record: 61-69 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights