Eduardo Escobar wins it.
In the closer of the series, the White Sox turned the tables. Eduardo Escobar -- pinch-hitting for Brent Lillibridge, who pinch-ran for Paul Konerko in the ninth and then got traded to Boston for Kevin Youkilis -- smacked a line-drive single to left-center for a walk-off win, and their first series victory since beating Seattle in two of three at the start of the month. That was six series ago.
Prior to the Youkilis trade, Jose Quintana was the story of the day. He threw eight scoreless, walkless innings for the second consecutive start -- although this time, he had plenty of help from his defense, and a fair amount of luck.
In the third, Norichika Aoki hit a drive to the base of the wall in right, but Alex Rios pulled the old R.B.I. Baseball trick out of his back pocket. He "fumbled" his first attempt to pick up the ball, which gave Aoki the inkling to try for third. Aoki fell for the trap, as a perfect relay cut him down.
Rios ended the fourth inning in an even more incredible fashion, taking a homer away from Corey Hart at the same time he crashed into the wall. He wasn't looking at the ball, and how he held onto it is a marvel.
Even when the ball didn't find a glove, Quintana still lucked out. Hart started the seventh with a deep drive to left that found the top of the fence. It looked like a homer, but it was only a double. Quintana then took back control of the game from fate, getting a couple of weak groundouts to the left side, then striking out Cody Ransom to end the inning. He finished his day with a 1-2-3 eighth.
Unfortunately, Quintana came away with another no-decision. The White Sox couldn't get him any runs, as they were stymied by Mike Fiers and his sneaky 90-mph fastball.
They couldn't mount credible threats until the eighth and ninth innings, and they failed to cash in a run either time. In the former frame, Francisco Rodriguez came out of the bullpen to strike out Gordon Beckham and Adam Dunn, stranding runners on second and third. In the latter, the White Sox singled twice, walked twice, and scored zero runs. A lineout double play on a hit-and-run erased the first walk, and Hudson popped out with the bases loaded.
The 10th was a different story. Alejandro De Aza greeted Manny Parra with a double down the left field line. After Beckham flied out to right, Adam Dunn walked. It looked semi-intentional, because Escobar was on deck, and not Konerko. But Escobar had the last laugh, scorching a 1-0 pitch to the left-center gap and a walk-off victory.
To sum it up, the White Sox won the game. They won a series. They took back first place. And they have a major-league third baseman. Sure, maybe Quintana didn't get the win. Don't be selfish, Jose.
- Brian Bruney picked up the win in his first game back, pitching around two walks for a scoreless 10th. Addison Reed pitched the ninth, his first time he'd thrown in three consecutive days.
- Quintana is the third pitcher in the last 27 years to throw eight innings of scoreless ball in consecutive starts, and not win either game. The last was Chad Durbin in July of 2001.
- The other? Dwight Gooden in 1985. Yes, Jose Quintana is as good as 1985 Doc Gooden.
- Quintana extended another streak -- he hasn't walked any of the last 97 batters he faced.
- The White Sox went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
- They improved to 2-5 in extra innings, and 8-11 in one-run games.