This one had all the makings of the White Sox first 3-game losing streak of the season. Gavin Floyd had a third inning that evoked images of Javy's second inning earlier this week. He didn't seem to want anything to do with the strike zone, and would stake the Yankees to an early 3-0 lead. And then the rains came.
Thank god they came. For the series the White Sox seemed unable to push runs across against the Yankees starter, or the two aces at the end of the Yankees pen. But the rain knocked Yanks starter Phil Hughes out of the game, and gave the Sox offense a crack at the ass end of their bullpen.
Sure enough, the Sox rolled up another big inning, 5 runs in the 4th off Ross Ohlendorf (pronounced Nick Masset). It would have been 6 if not for a would-be Alexei Ramirez triple finding the right field seats resulting in a ground rule double and Carlos Quentin on 3rd base. The Gentleman Masher later added a Walloped Tater to finish the Sox scoring against the spare parts of the Yankee pen.
Floyd would take his lead and generally pitch well. But much like Javy on Wednesday, the Yankees mounted a lightning quick 2-out rally to cut the lead to one and make it a battle of the bullpens for the remaining 3 innings.
You can tell that Ozzie is still trying to get used to his new bullpen. I've yet to criticize Ozzie's bullpen usage this season in part for the same reason.
All other roles are up for grabs, and any move to call on the remaining 4 members can be called into question in a tight game. With the Yankees running out a predominantly left-handed lineup, Ozzie tried to steal an inning with Matt Thornton, but a 2-out single and a walk forced Ozzie to call on Linebrink with the right-handed Morgan Ensberg due up. You know how that worked out.
Ozzie then tried to get multiple innings out of Logan, in part because he breezed through his first inning of work and, as is becoming quite redundant, because the Yankees lineup is littered with lefties. But when Logan had trouble getting his second out in the 9th, Ozzie made the call for the big man, a move we've begged for constantly on this blog. Even DJ tried to convince Hawk why it's in the Sox best interest to have their best reliever on the mound in the highest leverage situation. He didn't put it like that, but at least he's trying.
Jenks coaxed a double play out of Jorge Posada, and looked like he would be available to go in the 10th. The two resident ManCrushes of this site had other ideas.
With one out and Joba Chamberlain locked on cruise control, Quentin, who was in the midst of a terrible night at the plate, battled to get a bit a hanger, which he was able to rope for a double off the left field wall. Four pitches later, Joe Crede, who you might have heard is clutch, buckled his knees and poked a flat 1-2 slider into center field for the game winning single.
I don't want to overstate the importance of a single game, but if that game ends in a loss the last week plus would have had a very 2007-like feel to it. Avoiding the sweep, putting up a fight even when the bullpen blows a lead; this is a different team. I can't say they're a great team, or even a team that will stick around for the rest of the season in the AL Central, but at least they're better, more entertaining, than last season.