Baseball games are full of tiny events, tiny performances and a variety of contributors, which makes it seem little unfair when something so pathetic and humiliating happens at a key moment that the whole day gets defined by it. But then, something as ridiculous as losing to the moribund Twins by just giving four free passes in the bottom of the 12th deserves top billing.
1. Despite an offensive effort that was effectively nil after the first batter of the game, Sox pitching dragged the Twins through a war, full of baserunning errors and general sloppiness, but a war all the same. After getting a 1-1 game to the 12th inning, the Sox just ran out of competent relievers, and ran out very quickly. Dan Jennings started the inning, but hit Eddie Rosario on a full count. For his next trick, Jennings walked Byron Buxton, and was pulled for Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle introduced himself to all by walking Brian Dozier to load the bases, and when he dumped a 3-1 fastball in the dirt to Joe Mauer, everyone had their trip home.
2. Jose Quintana attempted to play the role of warhorse that saves the bullpen for the second-straight start, tilting over 110 pitches again as he attempted to take the game through the seventh. A ringing two-out double by Buxton ended this bid in the seventh, but he flashed ace-level stuff throughout the night, getting so much swing-and-miss on his curveball that he was able to throw it in on the hands of right-handers just as easily as he could dump it in the dirt. The nine strikeouts over just one walk were just one short of a season-high, and his most whiffs since June 11.
3. The forces of whatever it is that is haunting Quintana still enveloped him in the sixth inning. A bouncer off the bat off Dozier was cut off by Tyler Saladino streaking across from third, but he couldn’t get the ball out of his glove, allowing for an infield single. After a legit hard-hit ball from Miguel Sano turned into a hustle double due to some questionable execution, Kennys Vargas shanked a flair over first base to plate Dozier and tie the game at 1-1, but Sano was thrown out at the plate by Adam Eaton. This play would have probably been Dioner Navarro‘s final moments on Earth if not for the plate collision rule. Quintana still had to deal with a comebacker that deflected off his glove and a wild pitch that he fetched himself before he could seal up the inning without another run.
4. Eaton was the defensive star of the night to say the least. In addition to catching Sano at the plate to hold the tie in the sixth, he collected his league-leading 16th outfield assist by gunning down Robbie Grossman trying to advance to third, defusing an eighth inning that looked threatening for Matt Albers.
5. On the second pitch of the game, Ricky Nolasco floated something high-80s and elevated to Eaton, and saw it swiftly pulverized to the upper deck of right field. Nolasco had been nothing but firebombed in two outings this season against the White Sox, and on the merits of this moment alone, it seemed it would be another productive night.
It was not. Justin Morneau would add a wall single in the second (and quickly get gobbled up in a double play) and it would be five innings before the next Sox hit.
Team Record: 50-53
Next game is Saturday at Minnesota on WPWR at 6:10pm CT
Lead Image Credit: Jesse Johnson // USA Today Sports Images