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Bullpen woes sting White Sox in rubber game

After Quintana exits with lead, relievers allow 15 runs in four innings

CHICAGO -- Jose Quintana had to deal with three errors, three stolen bases, two rain delays totaling 45 minutes, a wet field and a lack of offspeed command that produced 115 pitches over five innings during his Sunday afternoon start against the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.

None of those challenges could have been nearly as trying as watching the White Sox bullpen in action for the final four innings after Quintana departed.

Quintana exited with the White Sox (54-58) leading, 3-1, and with a chance to even his record for the season. He spoke to the media 15 runs later, and after the Twins had claimed a 16-3 victory.

According to Elias, the 15 runs allowed by the bullpen tied a franchise worst accomplished two other times. It also happened on Aug. 9, 1923, and July 1, 1936.

"A really, really bad game for us," said Quintana, who picked up his Major League-high 37th no-decision since 2012.

"It seemed OK until the sixth," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "After that, it just got loose and you couldn't stop it."

Javy Guerra (1-3) lost the lead in a hurry during a three-run sixth for Minnesota (50-60), after Quintana battled through five, allowing one unearned run, striking out five and walking two. In the sixth, Eduardo Nunez singled home one run, and it was Danny Santana's two-run double that gave the Twins a 4-3 advantage. Santana finished with a career-high five hits, four RBIs and two stolen bases.

That rally became child's play compared to the way this game finished.

The combination of Taylor Thompson, Ronald Belisario and Eric Surkamp yielded nine runs on nine hits in the eighth, with the first eight Twins reaching base and 14 men coming to the plate. Thompson, who walked three and was touched up for three runs, was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte following the loss, with a corresponding move coming prior to Monday's series opener against the Rangers.

Over the three-game series against the American League Central's last-place team, the White Sox bullpen allowed 22 earned runs on 29 hits in nine innings. The 'pen has given up 28 earned runs over the last 20 innings covering seven games, while Belisario posted his sixth appearance this season in which he allowed three earned runs or more -- including seven earned runs over one-third of an inning on Saturday and Sunday.

"They got us," Belisario said. "I don't have anything else to say."

"Well, we scored some runs here today," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Goodness gracious, up to the eighth inning it was a 4-3 ballgame, then the ball starting flying all over the place."

Minnesota had chances for greater earlier output, but Quintana limited the damage.

He hit Kennys Vargas with the bases loaded to force home an unearned run with one out in the first -- brought about by one of Conor Gillaspie's two errors -- but then knocked down a Chris Colabello shot up the middle and started a pitcher-to-catcher-to-first inning-ending double play.

Runners were stranded on second and third in the second when Brian Dozier flew out, and despite putting runners on first and third with nobody out in the fourth and the top of the order on-deck, Quintana held the Twins scoreless. The White Sox erased a 1-0 deficit in the fourth via back-to-back doubles from Gillaspie and Alexei Ramirez. They took the lead two batters later when Dayan Viciedo crushed a first-pitch fastball from Kyle Gibson (10-8) for his 13th home run, which traveled 410 feet.

The White Sox highlights pretty much ended with that swing.

Chris Parmelee, Oswaldo Arcia and Eric Fryer went back-to-back-to-back off Andre Rienzo in the ninth, with Arcia's blast of 452 feet seeming to be a bit short-changed in the official measure. The White Sox will get a fresh arm up from the Minors on Monday, and both Zach Putnam and Matt Lindstrom should return from the disabled list soon, with Putnam throwing a 25-pitch side session Sunday to follow up Friday's bullpen session.

Until Putnam possibly returns on Friday, the White Sox are going to have find relief from many of the pitchers who got knocked around this weekend.

"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."

"First of all, it's never fun to lose, and it's definitely never fun to get your butt kicked," White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said. "But baseball's a nice game, tomorrow it's a fresh start. I'm not going to think about it after I get done talking to you guys. It's over."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
Read More: Chicago White Sox, Dayan Viciedo, Ronald Belisario, Jose Quintana, Javy Guerra