White Sox 8, Indians 7: Winning record earned the hard way

The .500 mark wasn't letting the White Sox pass through without a fight. It involved two blown leads, a blown save, poor fielding and four extra innings, during which they wasted a leadoff triple.

Still, in the Most AL Central Game of the Year, the White Sox found a way to prevail thanks to a couple oddities of their own.

In the 14th, Gordon Beckham disappointed the crowd by hitting a one-out double to the right-center gap. It was disappointing because Shin-Soo Choo almost misplayed it into the White Sox's sixth-triple of the night, which would have tied a live-ball franchise-record set twice by the 1920 White Sox.

A Brent Morel infield single moved him to third, and that brought Juan Pierre to the plate. In a game where he contributed on both ends of the offensive spectrum (a home run AND a sac bunt), Pierre found a joyous middle with a single to left, scoring Beckham and bringing a merciful ending to this game.

And now the White Sox have a winning record for the first time since April 15 ... when they were 7-6.

 

By this point, many of the events of the game have blended together, so I'm just going to give it the bullet-point treatment the rest of the way.

* Yes, the White Sox had five triples, a first since Sept. 17, 1920, when Shoeless Joe Jackson was still allowed to play pro baseball. Alejandro De Aza had the first two-triple game since Alex Cintron on April 13, 2006. Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Flowers (!) and Alex Rios (!) also joined in the fun.

* Shin-Soo Choo was a big reason why, as he took terrible reads in attempting to cut off balls heading to the gap, and also couldn't come up with a ball against the rail. He also went 1-for-6 with three strikeouts, including a strikeout by Jesse Crain with the go-ahead run on third in the 13th.

* Hat tip to the remaining fans during that at-bat, because they kept yelling "Ahhhhhhhhh-CHOO!" during every pitch. It came across great on the broadcast.

* Going back to Rios' triple -- because Rios hit it, it had to end in frustration. He led off the 11th with a triple to right-center, then watched as Alexei Ramirez grounded to third, and, after an intentional walk to Brent Lillibridge, Flowers lined into a 5-3 double play, with Lillibridge getting caught closer to second.

* Rios also was one of the reasons why the game went to extras. He entered the game as a very ironic defensive replacement, because his misread allowed a routine fly to drop in front of him. Manny Acta called for a hit-and-run, which means that a reliable center fielder (read: De Aza) would've had an easy, game-ending double play. Instead, the runner (Ezequiel Carrera) scored, and the game pressed on.

* Sergio Santos allowed Carrera to reach base with a walk, which isn't smart since Carrera entered the game slugging .281. This after Santos mildly complained that he wasn't getting all the save opportunities.

* He wasn't alone in the soul-crushing bullpen show, as Will Ohman issued two straight walks -- the latter with the bases loaded -- to tie the game at 5 in the sixth inning.

* Gavin Floyd struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced ... but couldn't finish six innings. As 3E8 noted in the gamethread, he struggled from the stretch.

* Chris Sale also gave up a solo homer to Travis Hafner in his second inning of work, in between Ohman and Santos' ugly outings.

* However, when the game turned to extra innings, the bullpen turned it on. Matt Thornton was sharp over two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. Jesse Crain also threw two, although he pitched around three walks and a hit by striking out three. Jason Frasor picked up his first White Sox win with a 1-2-3 inning, including two strikeouts.

* The White Sox pounded out 22 hits, a season high. Paul Konerko and Morel each had four, and Juan Pierre and Alejandro De Aza each provided three hits from the top two spots in the order.

* Home plate umpire Laz Diaz couldn't settle on a strike zone, and the rest of the umpires weren't much better. The Sox seemed to be on the winning end of the breaks battle.

Record: 61-60 | Box score | Play-by-play

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