Sale made up for last night’s blown save with two solid innings of relief in the win
It’s an understatement to say the bullpen and defense are struggling; two areas thought to be strengths, not weaknesses.
Matt Thornton blew his first save chance in the 9th after the Good Guys rallied from down four to take the lead in the top half, 7-6. It was another extra inning affair for the club and once again, the bullpen squandered an opportunity to finalize a win; however this time, the Good Guys in Black came away with a win.
Mark Buehrle started the contest and went just five innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. With Ozzie Guillen’s club down 5-0 in the 7th, they closed the gap to 5-2 with a Ramon Castro solo home run and a Juan Pierre RBI double. Carlos Quentin hit another solo bomb to get it within 5-3, but the Royals tallied on another run to make it 6-3 heading into the 9th.
With the talented Joakim Soria on the mound to finish the two-game sweep in the ninth inning, it appeared that the Sox would head home to Tampa Bay losers of three straight. Soria got the first two outs and the White Sox were down to their final bullet. After two ground outs by A.J. (pinch hit for Castro) and Morel, it was all on Juan Pierre to keep the ball game alive.
Pierre answered the call and singled to right. Next up, Gordon Beckham. The young second baseman reached base on a walk. After that, Rios hit the ball sharply for an infield single, scoring Juan. Paul Konerko then went to the opposite field for a two-strike RBI single. Then the stage was set with the Sox down, 6-5.
With two strikes to begin the at-bat, Carlos Quentin took Soria’s third offering by lining it into the gap in left-center to plate both Rios and Lillibridge, (yesterday’s goat on the base paths), who ran for Paulie, to take the first lead of the afternoon. 7-6; four runs scored with two outs against one of the top closers in all of baseball. Impressive beyond words. Indescribable. Speechless. Breathtaking.
Not so fast. In the bottom of the ninth Matt Thornton came on to seal the deal, yet blew the save. Despite surrendering a run, he did however keep the game alive by holding the Royals from yet another walk-off victory. It would’ve been their fifth straight. With the game still tied at 7 in the 11th inning, Chris Sale kept Alex Gordon stranded at third with only one out.
Encouraging signs for the two guys that blew saves to hold runners in scoring position, with the game on the line, and less than two outs. In the 12th, Brent Morel made up for his near-costly error (3rd on the season) in the prior inning, by driving home Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez on a single to right to put the game away for good. The victory puts the White Sox at 3-2.
Hero: Carlos Quentin, 4-6 with 3 RBI’s (10) and 1 HR (2). He is now batting .500 through five games. Clutch Carlos.
Good Eye: Gordon Beckham saw a team-high 30 pitches (two walks) in five AB’s.
Got Your Back: Phil Humber pitched two scoreless sets after Buehrle’s lackluster session was over for the afternoon.
Voice Of Ozzie: “Crazy game. Very crazy game. Both sides. But thank God we win.”
“I never thought this was going to happen ever, Soria give up that many runs with two out.”
Clutch Carlos: “You’ve got to look at it as the beauty of baseball, “Sometimes that happens. Guys will lock in. Pitches are made and swings are put on pitches that are proper swings. We’re well aware of what Soria has done in his career. He’s a quality pitcher and today we were fortunate enough to come back.”
Up Next: Home Opener vs. 0-5 Rays. Edwin Jackson (1-0) vs. David Price (0-1). 1:10 PM CT at the Cell.