The White Sox were one out away from losing yet another well pitched game thanks to the usual script; lack of hitting with RISP and an amzingly effective reliever giving up an inopportune extra-inning homer. And I was one out away from skipping this recap. A guy can't take a 5-day break, during which the Sox run off 5 in a row, including a sweep of the Cubs, and not expect to hear shit when the first thing he writes about is another late-inning loss.
Thankfully, we don't have to suffer that fate. Alexei Ramirez made sure of that.
The Cuban Missle, Slash, Necktie (whichever you prefer) put the Sox on his back, driving in all of their runs in the first 2:40 of the game. He put the Sox up in the second with a well struck sacrifice fly to center field, but his biggest shot was obviously the 2-out 10th inning HR off Indians closer Joe Borowski. Ramirez leaned on a fastball and hit a towering flyball to left field that barely cleared the fence to knot the game at 2 and save the Sox out of what looked like certain defeat.
Dewayne Wise followed with a pinch-hit single, a first-pitch stolen base, and scored the winning run on Orlando Cabrera's single, perhaps solidifying his roster spot as the Sox are reportedly shopping Juan Uribe (for some reason).
The heroics of Ramirez, Wise and Cabrera wouldn't have been necessary if the Sox could have put something together against Cliff Lee in his 8 innings of work, or if Matt Thornton, who has been incredible this year (save two 10th inning homeruns) didn't give up a bomb to Casey Blake. But Lee got a couple of double plays and escaped the Sox greatest threat having yielded just one run.
John Danks Doesn't Know How to Win
John Danks continues to lower his ERA. He now sits at a 3rd best in the AL at 2.50, yet he has only 5 wins to show for it. His 8 innings were a season high, and 8 strikeouts matched a career high. I can't help but think a veteran would have gone 9 and have at least 10 victories by now. Maybe we can trade Danks at the deadline.
Ozzie's Pen Management
Adam Russell got his first major league win by recording the final out of the 10th. There was some teeth nashing in the gamethread about Ozzie's decision to go with Thornton over Jenks to start the 10th, and truth be told, I would have been right at the forefront of that criticism if this was last year. But Thornton is having an amazing season, and I have no problem using him in that situation. It just didn't work out like Ozzie had hoped. Calling on Russell with two runners on in extra-innings of a 1-run game, however, seemed like a crazy decision. But this time Ozzie looked like a genius as Russell struck out the lone batter he faced to give the Sox a chance at a comeback.