Lillibridge, Rios Power White Sox Over Indians In Extras

These White Sox don't do easy, not often anyway.

If you tuned in to the first 2 innings tonight, you probably thought the game would have been over quickly. Mark Buehrle was on the mound; the offense battered Mitch Talbot to the tune of 5 runs in the first two frames, it had all the makings of a two-hour thirty-minute blowout.

But the offense let Talbot off the hook. Buehrle let the Tribe back in the game. The bullpen coughed up another should-be-safe lead. Pretty soon the game was a repeat of the Royals series; an eminently winnable game that the Sox seemed to be doing everything in their power to turn into a painfully long and brutal loss.

There were several points when the wheels could have fallen off. Buehrle had to escape a huge jam in the 5th when he allowed the tying run reach scoring position with nobody out. All he did was turn around and strike out the side. Bobby Jenks entered in the 8 to clean up a Sergio Santos mess, the tying run at the plate. Gordon Beckham went down with what appeared to be a serious wrist/hand injury after being hit by a pitch -- He was fine, day-to-day, though he did get a scare from the practical-joking X-ray tech. Scott Linebrink pitched in a high-leverage situation. None of which is a usual recipe for a White Sox winner.

Jenks' 9th inning blowup might be the big story. His ability to give up 3 runs without recording an out really is astounding, not exactly the skill you're looking for from your closer. But he's equally as streaky in the other direction, and he eventually pitched over the error by Brent Lillibridge, who replaced Beckham in the lineup after the injury.

That replacement was important, as it was Lillibridge the least likely non-Pierre power source providing the Sox with their late spark. His second home run of the year got the Sox offense kick started again in the 11th, with the insurance runs that followed allowing for some much-needed breathing room with Linebrink on the mound. 

It hardly feels like a victory worth hooting over, but it's the type of game the Sox have to win if they hope to make even the slightest run at the Twins.

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