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Twins blow 5 different leads, lose to White Sox 9-8 in 10 innings

Five separate times on Wednesday, the Twins took the lead. Five separate times, they gave it back.

MLB: Game One-Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins; Rookie Joe Ryan
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan (74) throws to the Cleveland Indians Sept. 14, 2021, in the first inning at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Bruce Kluckhohn / USA Today Sports
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CHICAGO — Five times on Wednesday, the Twins took the lead. Five times, they gave it back.

Starting pitcher Joe Ryan was responsible for giving the lead back twice. The other three times came from a leaky bullpen, one whose need for help at the trade deadline was on full display on Wednesday.

The Twins and White Sox traded shots back and forth during a nearly four-hour game before Leury García’s walk-off hit off Jovani Moran in the 10th inning sent the Twins to a 9-8 loss in the series finale at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“Going up there and only being a couple of outs away from sweeping the White Sox, a team we came into the season ready to battle the whole year — so far through six games, we’ve showed up and played them really well. So that gives us confidence,” catcher Ryan Jeffers said. “But I think everybody in here can look in the mirror and say, ‘We can do something better.’”

On Wednesday, their inability to close out the game against the White Sox (39-41) — among the leads they gave back, one came in the seventh and another in the eighth — prevented them from completing a three-game sweep of the team that won the division last season.

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Their bullpen troubles late in games last week against the Guardians, the team closest to them in the standings, led to losses on three straight days in a five-game series they potentially could have swept.

To an extent, Jeffers said, this gives the first-place Twins (47-38) some confidence “knowing that we clearly are the best team in the division.

“With that being said, we also know that if we want to go where we want to go, we need to be able to close these games out,” he continued.

And Wednesday, they did not.

The walk-off loss came after the Twins were unable to convert in the top of the 10th inning despite having a pair of runners — the automatic runner, Nick Gordon, and Jose Miranda, who walked — on base with no outs. Gio Urshela struck out and Jeffers grounded into a double play to send the Twins into the bottom of the 10th empty handed.

After a clean nine-pitch ninth inning from rookie sensation Jhoan Duran, the Twins opted against bringing him back out. Had they had a lead, he would’ve pitched the 10th, manager Rocco Baldelli said. Instead, it was Moran.

The Twins got to that point after Ryan threw four innings of three-run ball — the starter said not being able to give the team a longer start was “tough” — and relievers Emilio Pagán, Griffin Jax and Trevor Megill all followed by giving up a run or two in the half inning they pitched immediately after the Twins had scored.

“This was tough because we kept coming back over and over again and had good swing after good swing,” Baldelli said. “… We gave up some runs as the game went on, which we’ve got to find a way to get through those innings clean or limiting some damage to maybe one run instead of giving up multiple runs.”

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Jorge Polanco twice gave the Twins the lead with a home run and yet neither of those leads stuck. Urshela homered, too, his giving the Twins their eighth-inning two-run lead. Luis Arraez finished the day with four singles, part of the Twins’ 13-hit day.

And yet despite the offense performances — and despite the fact that they won the series — the Twins leave town on a difficult note.

“We’re walking out of here hungrier than when we walked in and I mean that,” Baldelli said.

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This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.

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