Manny Ramirez wasn't in the lineup Tuesday.
Oh, he made it to Cleveland in time, but something about his answer to Ozzie Guillen's question about how ready he was rubbed Guillen the wrong way. And by rubbed Ozzie the wrong way I mean he gave the standard I'll do anything to help the team Crash Davis-ism. But he still didn't play because, well, everyone sits out an extra day with the White Sox under Guillen. It's just the way it is.
It's not like the Sox need any offensive help, they Sox got 20 hits last night.
But the White Sox found themselves down 1-0 late in the game with Justin Masterson pitching allowing only 3 baserunners in the first 7 innings. Clearly they needed a spark.
Mark Kotsay, who started at DH to give Manny the opportunity to catch some Zzzzs on the bench, led off the 8th with a walk and was pulled for pinch runner Brent Lillibridge. This set up a built-in excuse for Ozzie to keep Manny on the bench no matter the situation until the DH spot came up again. Thankfully, Mark Teahen drove in Lillibridge with a 1-out single after a sacrifice by the other Ramirez, tying the game at 1 and pushing the game towards another extra-inning affair.
Edwin Jackson continued his dominant pitching, but appeared as if he was headed for a tough loss before the 8th. He responded to the explosion of run in the top half of the 8th by striking out the side in the bottom half, all swinging. Normally, that's where Jackson would have ended. He was at 116 pitches, and by the time the 9th rolled he'd have a 3-run lead. That's usually a situation that calls for the Closer™. But the Sox depleted pen and the shakiness of one Bobby Jenks along with Jackson looking his strongest in the 8th meant he got a chance add another high pitch count complete game to his arm this year.
Manny may not have gotten an at-bat, but he did find his way on the field in the Sox biggest situation. He was in the on-deck circle for the second unlikely game-winning homerun of the series. This time it was A.J. Pierzynski at the plate with 1 out and runners on first and second, perfect double play position. Pierzynski saw a hanger from Frank Herrmann and strangely didn't pop it up. It was still plenty high, but over the outfield wall giving the Sox the dreaded 3-run 9th inning lead.
From there Jackson faltered, doing his best August Late Inning Relief impression before finally being pulled one out shy of the complete game. Jenks would put the tying run in scoring position before getting a comebacker to end the game.
The win brings an end to a tough August that saw the Sox finish 14-15. One game under .500 doesn't feel too far off of this team's true talent, but August was particularly frustrating, as the Sox outscored their opponents by 25 runs. A 2-9 record in 1-run games highlights the Sox need for lights out bullpen work (that they didn't recieve in August) and, hmmmm, I don't know, maybe another bat?