The White Sox went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position. That's usually not a recipe for a victory, but tonight it was plenty thanks to Alex Rios.
Rios came to the plate in the sixth inning with one out and runners on the corners after a successful Paul Konerko hit-and-run. The White Sox were hitless in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position, which crapped on scoring opportunities in the first, second and fourth inning.
After Rios' at-bat, the Sox were 1-for-11. And instead of trailing 0-1, they led 3-1. Rick Porcello's two-seam fastball drifted right over the heart of the plate, and Rios didn't miss it. A.J. Pierzynski made it back-to-back, and that was it for Porcello.
Finally, the White Sox took advantage of Detroit's awful defense. When Ryan Raburn dropped a flyball to put Dewayne Wise on second to start the fourth, the Sox couldn't do anything with it. But when Omar Infante couldn't handle Wise's grounder to the right side with one out in the sixth, Rios made them pay.
Also, finally, Jose Quintana had the breathing room he deserved.
Quintana pitched 7⅔ outstanding innings, benefiting from Detroit's similar inability to cash in scoring opportunities. The Tigers could only turn six hits into one run over the first three innings. Detroit went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, and even then, Dewayne Wise turned a hit into an out by gunning down Jhonny Peralta at second.
Quintana turned his evening -- and hopefully his September -- around the hard way. He walked Austin Jackson and gave up a single to Ryan Raburn to start the third, bringing Miguel Cabrera to the plate. Robin Ventura saw this act before, as Quintana slammed into walls in his previous two starts. He had Dylan Axelrod warming, but Quintana rendered him unnecessary. He got Miguel Cabrera to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, then froze Prince Fielder with an outside-corner fastball to end the threat.
He retired 16 of his next 17 batters, and his night ended when he walked Ryan Raburn with two outs. That almost turned into a crisis when Brian Omogrosso provided no relief and gave up a double to Cabrera, bringing Fielder to the plate as the tying run. Ventura went to his bullpen again by bringing out Donnie Veal, and Veal got Fielder to bounce out weakly to Gordon Beckham to end the threat.
In the bottom of the eighth, Beckham crushed a
1-2 3-2 Octavio Dotel hanger (after falling behind 0-2) to put the game out of reach. Addison Reed (already warm) pitched his first 1-2-3 inning since July 17, and the White Sox snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Tigers in the most significant victory of the year (to date).
- After Pierzynski's homer, Miguel Cabrera didn't get his glove down on a Dayan Viciedo short-hop for the Tigers' third error of the night. (corrected)
- Then you look at the White Sox's defense. Wise had that assist from left, Alexei Ramirez made two tricky plays ranging to his left, and Gordon Beckham stayed with a ball that ramped up his glove on the backhand and flung it to first for the most impressive play of the night.
- The White Sox showed bunt three times in Miguel Cabrera's direction, with Pierzynski the only one to give it a shot. He bunted it foul.