White Sox 3, A's 2: Lillibridge saves the day - again

Brent Lillibridge robs Coco Crisp of a potential two-run homer in the eighth inning.

Brent Lillibridge made two game-saving plays in right field against the Yankees. He preserved a one-run lead in the eighth against the Indians with a sliding catch in center.

He completed the set tonight, robbing Coco Crisp of what would've been a go-ahead homer to save John Danks' bacon, and ultimately the game.

With one out in the eighth, and Danks crossing the 110-pitch barrier, Crisp appeared to get a hold of a 2-2 pitch. Off the bat, it looked like a two-run homer and his 1,000th career hit. But the wind got a hold of it, and Lillibridge drew a bead on it. He timed his leap perfectly, jumping at an angle to prevent friction from decreasing his vertical. This was the result:

 

That was the high point of an ugly game for all parties involved. Whether you're talking about the White Sox, the A's or the umpires, everybody had their hands in some terrible baseball.

In fact, Lillibridge scored the go-ahead run prior to his theatrics thanks to bad A's defense. He reached on a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, stole second, advanced to third when the throw got away, and scored when Brad Ziegler's attempt to start a 1-6-4 double play pulled Cliff Pennington "off the bag." Pennington did make a great effort to touch the bag while tumbling towards right field, but Brian O'Nora didn't see it.

(And while we're talking about Lillibridge, he led off the bottom of the first by getting hit in the foot. Ed Hickox didn't see it, nobody could convince him otherwise, and Lillibridge ended up striking out.)

In terms of runs scored by their own doing, the A's actually won, 2-1. The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the third on a sketchy balk call, which later enabled Alexei Ramirez to score on a wild pitch. Ramon Castro's solo shot on a hanging Gio Gonzalez curve was the only run that should've crossed the plate, all things being equal.

Danks was able to survive with another meager offensive output. He limited the damage to a run in the third (infield single, stolen base, RBI single), and one in the sixth (Crisp double, followe by a bunt and a sac fly). Otherwise, he was stingy with baserunners, allowing just four hits and two walks over 7 2/3 innings.

Jesse Crain picked up his first save with the White Sox, as Ozzie Guillen left him in to pitch the ninth after he recorded the final out of the eighth. He walked Hideki Matsui to lead off the inning (thanks to a tight strike zone by Hickox), and he didn't look particularly sharp with the slider, but nobody punished his mistakes. When he finally made a good pitch, it was a good one -- a just-high fastball to get Friday's hero, Scott Sizemore,  swinging for the final out.

Notes:

*The White Sox committed two errors, but neither hurt. Castro tried making the most out of Lillibridge throw that pulled him off the plate, but his inability to pick it cleanly allowed Willingham to move up a base. Alexei Ramirez committed a two-out throwing error.

*The umpires were lousy, but most calls went the White Sox's way after Lillibridge took one for the team in vain. Ed Rapuano missed a call at first on a 3-6-3 double play for the White Sox, and O'Nora missed what appeared to be a strike-him-out-throw-him-out, as the tag appeared to be applied on Carlos Quentin before his foot touched the bag.

Record: 32-35 | Box score | Play-by-play

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