CHICAGO | After just three games, White Sox manager Robin Ventura figured he has too small of a sample to worry about an entire bullpen that has given up nine runs in 10 1/3 innings so far.
Ventura had an immediate concern on Thursday, though. Hard-throwing setup man Nate Jones, who has not recorded an out while giving up four runs in two appearances, reported a re-occurrence of problems with his left glut muscle that had sidelined him at the start of spring training.
Jones allowed the Twins to jump back into the game in the seventh after the Sox took an 8-5 lead on Jose Abreu’s three-run triple off the center-field wall. The Twins kept coming, eventually reaching closer Matt Lindstrom for the two go-ahead runs in the ninth in Minnesota’s 10-9 victory.
“I felt a little discomfort out there today and got some treatment on it,” said Jones, who was considered for the closer’s job during spring training. “(Today) we’ll re-evaluate and see how it feels. It (original injury) went away. It for some reason I felt it a little bit today.
“It kind of just is in the back of your head. When you’re thinking about something else besides hitting the mitt, you see what happens. It’s not good for the team. I think it progressed a little bit. I might have felt it a little bit while I was warming up, and then it didn’t get any better (on the mound).”
Showing spark and spirit along with intelligent hitting that largely was lacking in a 99-loss 2013 season, the Sox could have survived Jones’ abbreviated outing.
But Lindstrom committed the worst ninth-inning sin, issuing a walk to Josh Willingham with one out. Willingham moved to second on a grounder, and then scored on Trevor Plouffe’s single to right.
Plouffe then tallied on Orlando Arcia’s triple to center. The drive was out of the reach of Adam Eaton, who two innings earlier had robbed Arcia with a leaping catch near the same spot.
“You can’t really make a mistake 3-2 like that, walk him and take another chance with the next guy,” Lindstrom said. “That’s just something I’ll store in the memory bank and use for next time. I was making my pitches early, and I just didn’t get the job done.”
Lindstrom said gripping the baseball got to be a challenge on a 37-degree day, but offered no excuses based on weather conditions.
In spite of the chill, the Sox slugged three homers, including Marcus Semien’s first hit of the season after 12 fruitless at-bats that gave the Sox a 9-8 lead in the eighth. Abreu collected an RBI double an inning before his bases-loaded three-bagger that put lefty Jose Quintana (two earned runs and eight strikeouts in six innings) in line for a win.
“It was an up-and-down game,” said Semien. “We had to come back as well. They had some fight. They did a good job of … fighting through to their last strike. They’re a good ballclub. We feel like anytime we get up two strikes, two outs in the ninth, it hurts when the other team wins.”