The White Sox bullpen just might've written its magnum opus Sunday afternoon, and not in a good way.
Trailing by one run heading into the eighth, Taylor Thompson, Ronald Belisario and Eric Surkamp combined to allow nine runs as Minnesota stormed to a 16-3 win in front of 23,471 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Twins hitters banged out nine hits in the eighth and drew two walks. Both Thompson, who threw a scoreless seventh and was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte after the game, and Belisario didn't record an out in the inning.
"They got us," Belisario said. "I don't have anything else to say."
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The rundown of the eighth: Walk, triple, walk, single, single, single, single, double, fielder's choice, double, single, single, flyout, popout.
In the ninth, Chris Parmelee, Oswaldo Arcia and Eric Fryer hit back-to-back-to-back solo home runs off Andre Rienzo. Arcia's traveled 452 feet and reached the right field concourse.
Making matters worse was the White Sox turned the game over to the bullpen with a 3-1 lead after five innings. But Javy Guerra promptly coughed up three runs in the sixth, spoiling Jose Quintana's bid for a seventh win.
"It seemed OK until the sixth and after that, it just got loose and you couldn't stop it," manager Robin Ventura said.
Dayan Viciedo's go-ahead two-run homer off Twins starter Kyle Gibson in the fourth became a distant memory as Minnesota plated 15 runs off White Sox relievers.
And those bullpen issues weren't confined to just Sunday, either: In this weekend's three-game series against Minnesota, White Sox relievers combined to allow 22 earned runs in nine innings of work.
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The good news, if there is any good news to come out of Sunday's game, is help eventually will be on the way. Ventura said he hopes to get Zach Putnam — who has a 2.35 ERA in 38 1/3 innings — back when he's eligible to come of the disabled list Aug. 8, while Matt Lindstrom made his second rehab appearance with Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday (though he allowed two runs on four hits). First-round pick Carlos Rodon could join the major league bullpen at some point too.
For the most part, though, the group of relievers the White Sox have are the ones they're going to use for the rest of the 2014 season. On Sunday, the results were brutal, but Ventura hopes the bullpen is able to flush what happened against Minnesota and quickly move on.
"They're the ones that are out there so we're going to have to come back in with these guys and find the confidence and the stuff to be able to do it," Ventura said. "We have to be able to execute. They're the guys in there so we're going to have to make it work somehow, just make it better."