For about five minutes, it looked like Mark Buehrle was on the road to another tough loss. He returned to form through the first five innings -- staying away from the middle of the plate, picking off a runner, defending his position -- but when Travis Hafner's soaring fly to right barely cleared the right field wall, Buehrle found himself on the wrong end of a one-run game.
Fortunately, the Chicago bats came alive -- mostly the younger ones. They jumped on Ubaldo Jimenez a half-inning later, and created such a large cushion that last two innings were mostly spent seeing if the bullpen would retaliate for Tuesday night's HBPalooza.
They did not. Sox fans had to settle for a comfortable ninth inning instead.
Dayan Viciedo started the top of the seventh by drawing a one-out walk, after he fell behind 1-2. His seven-pitch plate appearance was followed by a one-pitch plate appearance by Brent Morel, who smashed a double off the left-center wall. Viciedo got a good read on it, and Jeff Cox waved him around. He slid safely into home while the throw came in wide of the plate to tie the game.
Gordon Beckham followed with a walk, and after a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, Alejandro De Aza delivered with a line-drive single to center, scoring two runs and giving the Sox a 4-2 lead. It also gave De Aza his third consecutive two-RBI game.
Their encore for a three-run seventh? A four-run eighth via three homers -- solo shots by Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios, and a two-run shot by Brent Morel. The Sox led 8-2, and even though the eighth inning could've gone smoother -- the Sox needed three relievers to protect a six-run lead -- Sergio Santos restored sanity with a dominant 1-2-3 ninth.
Prior to the outburst, it looked like Tyler Flowers might've been in line for the only RBI with his fifth-inning double. He earned it. After Dayan Viciedo scorched a single to the right side, Flowers worked a full count before launching a double over the head of right-fielder Kosuke Fukudome, driving in Viciedo for a 1-0 lead.
*De Aza missed a catchable ball at the wall during Cleveland's two-run eighth, as it appeared he thought he was jumping against the wall, and he hadn't reached it yet. One batter later, though, Jason Kipnis tested him again, and De Aza made the kind of leaping catch he was trying for the first time around.
*Every White Sox hitter reached base.