The White Sox stretched their frustration in stunning form Tuesday night.
Their agony started when closer Dustin Hermanson surrendered a game-tying home run to Michael Cuddyer with one out in the top of the ninth inning and became complete when Minnesota scored five runs off Jon Adkins in the top of the 16th for a 9-4 victory.
The Sox (74-43) extended their losing streak to a season-high four games, thanks to a setback that took 5 hours 9 minutes to complete, ending after midnight.
"We've got to erase what's happened in the past four games and believe in ourselves," said Sox manager Ozzie Guillen
Tuesday's marathon was the longest in U.S. Cellular Field history and the longest Twins-Sox game in their history.
It also was the Sox's longest, in terms of time, since they played 5:12 at Detroit on Sept. 14, 1998.
The Sox hadn't played an extra-inning game this long since May 1, 1991, when they lost 10-9 in 19 innings at Milwaukee.
The length of Tuesday's game surpassed a 15-inning 5-4 victory over Detroit on June 2, 1995, in Terry Bevington's first game as Sox manager. Guillen doubled to score Mike LaValliere from first with the winning run.
The Sox's 11-game lead in the AL Central is their smallest since July 27 after a 13-inning loss at Kansas City.
Their immediate outlook isn't so rosy, as the Twins will try to become the second team to earn a three-game sweep at U.S. Cellular Field this season with 2004 American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana on the mound Wednesday night against Sox ace Mark Buehrle.
Cuddyer's homer snapped Hermanson's streak of 15 consecutive save conversions.
"One bad pitch," Hermanson said. "[Catcher A.J. Pierzynski] called a slider down and in. And I haven't thrown that many to righthanders."
Hermanson's only other blown save in 32 attempts came June 11, when San Diego rallied from 1-0 deficit to seize a 2-1 victory.
Cuddyer's homer also wiped out the Sox's momentum from a remarkable seventh-inning rally that enabled them to take a 4-3 lead.
The unlikely threesome of normally impatient Juan Uribe, rookie Brian Anderson and reserve Timo Perez led the way.
The free-swinging Uribe drew a one-out walk from Twins starter Brad Radke.
The walk was only the 20th of the season by Uribe. It also was the first issued by Radke to a Sox player since Jose Valentin on Aug. 19, 2002.
That's a span of 12 starts, 83 innings and 345 plate appearances.
Guillen stuck with Anderson, who had struck out and hit a broken-bat grounder to short in his first two major-league at-bats.
Anderson fell behind 0-2, laid off a low and outside pitch and fouled off a few pitches before pulling a soft single into left field for his first big-league hit.
Perez, starting in the leadoff spot in place of speedy Scott Podsednik, poked a double off the wall in left-center to score the tying and go-ahead runs.
The seventh-inning comeback created some excitement for the Sox and Anderson, who was greeted in his first at-bat by the theme from early 1980s television show "The Greatest American Hero" because of his resemblance to actor William Katt.
Anderson finished the night 2-for-7.
But the Sox's giddy feelings turned to disappointment after Cuddyer's homer off Hermanson.
And the offense fueled more anxiety by squandering chances in the 11th and 13th.
Geoff Blum, who entered as a defensive replacement for first baseman Paul Konerko in the ninth, led off the 11th with a single and advanced into scoring position on Pierzynski's sacrifice.
With first base open, the Twins intentionally walked Aaron Rowand.
The move paid off when Uribe popped to second and Cuddyer made a diving stop to rob Joe Crede of a game-winning hit.
With one out in the 13th, Pierzynski hit a one-out double but was left stranded.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times