On Friday night, Robin Ventura used Nate Jones, Brett Myers, Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton as a tie game went into extra innings. They all delivered a scoreless outing, and the Sox came away victorious.
Ventura stuck to the same order tonight, in hopes that it might be a winning formula. This time, Thornton couldn't hold up his end of the bargain.
Thornton pulled an Humber, retiring the first two batters easily before giving up two straight hits that ended up deciding the game. Alberto Callaspo doubled on a full-count hanger, then came around to score on Howie Kendrick's grounder through the right side. The Sox had no answers for Ernesto Frieri, and so they're back under .500 in extra-innings games.
On one hand, it's a frustrating loss -- especially since cameras and Mark Trumbo freaked out on Adam Dunn's two-out flyball in the ninth inning, which landed just 30 feet short of the fence. But this one should have been worse, because Gavin Floyd endured GRUESOME struggles with his control in the first inning.
(HOW GRUESOME WERE THEY?)
His struggles were so gruesome that this is how the first inning started:
- Trout hit by pitch.
- Izturis hit a ground rule double to deep left, Trout to third.
- Pujols singled to left, Trout scored, Izturis to third.
- Pujols stole second.
- Trumbo grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, Izturis scored, Pujols out at third, Trumbo to second.
- Morales walked.
- Callaspo walked, Trumbo to third, Morales to second.
- Kendrick walked, Trumbo scored, Morales to third, Callaspo to second.
Floyd threw 41 pitches in the first inning, but somehow limited the damage to three runs. From that point on, he was pretty much OK. Trout scored in the second by singling, moving up on a pair of outs, and scoring on a wild pitch that bounced off A.J. Pierzynski's knee pad (Tyler Flowers probably blocks it). And just like Philip Humber on Friday, his night ended on a solo homer by Albert Pujols.
It could have and should have been worse, but the Sox made a game out of it. Kevin Youkilis led the charge with a solo homer in the first, and tied the game with a two-run shot off LaTroy Hawkins in the seventh.
In between, Alejandro De Aza made like Trout in the third inning, except in a far more spastic fashion. He led off with a hustle double, and when he dove into the bag, his head hit Maicer Izturis' knee, and De Aza did that thing where it looks like he might die. He bounced back well enough to think about taking third on Adam Dunn's flyout in pretty deep foul territory. He had second thoughts halfway there, and when Callaspo tried to throw him out, his throw hit De Aza and bounced into right field. De Aza got up and took third; no word on whether Mike Scioscia thought about protesting because De Aza was running on the baseline.
He then scored on a Paul Konerko bouncer to third. Callaspo's throw came home, but it was on the first base side of the plate, and De Aza slid in safely, and feet-first this time. Also, credit the coaches for putting Youkilis in motion repeatedly, because that would have been an easy 5-4-3 double play otherwise.
A.J. Pierzynski reached the 20-homer mark for the first time in his career with by reaching out and ripped the ball over the Bullpen Sports Bar.
- Trout scored two runs, and he also saved a run by robbing Gordon Beckham of a homer to left-center. Beckham can't catch a break, and Hawk Harrelson has a new opponent crush.
- A smart Sox fan interfered with Pujols' attempt to catch a pop-up down the first base line -- Pujols reached into the stands, but the fan reached higher and deflected the ball away. Pujols was furious, but rules are rules.
- In his flyout against Frieri, Paul Konerko took a look at his left hand.