The White Sox bullpen had been lights-out this year against the Toronto Blue Jays, coming into Friday night’s game having tossed 16 1/3 scoreless innings over the previous five contests.
But the unblemished mark disappeared when closer Bobby Jenks yielded an opposite-field, solo home run to John Buck to break a 3-3 tie in the ninth inning.
“The ball Buck hit, I couldn’t believe it went out of the park, but he
hit it up in the jet stream tonight and it blew out,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
Matt Thorton gave the Sox a chance to win by following Jenks with two shutout innings, in which he fanned five batters. The hard-throwing lefty has now struck out 23 in 14 2/3 innings of work this season, compared to just two walks.
Unfortunately, the Jays were able to touch the bullpen yet again in the 12th inning, when shortstop Alex Gonzalez blasted a two-out, three-run homer off JJ Putz.
“The last pitch was a split that didn’t do anything, just kinda stayed flat, Putz said. “The whole inning, my split was good. It was the right pitch it — just didn’t do what it was supposed to.
“When you make bad pitches like that, bad things are going to happen.”
Putz had gotten ahead of Gonzalez 1-2 before yielding the home run.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” he said of not being able to put Gonzalez away. “When you get ahead of a guy, you want to put him away. Like I said, it was the right pitch, I just didn’t execute it.”