The White Sox ended the first half with what looks like a preview of the second half -- more fight, more competence, but just not enough on a daily basis.
They took the Phillies to extra innings with a ninth-inning rally off Jonathan Papelbon, but when Ramon Troncoso is the go-to guy in the 10th with Addison Reed still available, it suggests that Robin Ventura has accepted his fate.
Then again, when Josh Phegley hits the game-tying RBI single in the ninth, only to be knocked out in the bottom of the inning by a foul tip to his right index finger, maybe Ventura is right to not press for success. No good thing lasts this year.
The Sox took their time breaking through against Cole Hamels, with the offense finally sputtering into production by the seventh. A Jeff Keppinger RBI single cut the Phillies' lead to 3-1, and an Alejandro De Aza solo shot in the eighth made it a one-run game.
Jonathan Papelbon couldn't stop the bleeding. With one out, he gave up a single to Dayan Viciedo. Pinch-running Blake Tekotte stole second with an unorthodox slide -- picture a fighter jet landing on an aircraft carrier without its landing gear all the way down -- but somehow maintained enough contact with the bag to not be tagged out. (Feel like I should note that Keppinger took a hittable 0-1 pitch to let Tekotte steal. He flied out to right, but the patience was noted.)
With two outs, Phegley bashed a single through the middle to score Tekotte tying the game at 3.
Unfortunately, a foul tip smashed his index finger in the bottom of the inning. He tried walking it off, but Herm Schneider had to tend to him in the dugout, and his status is unclear.
Phegley missed the opportunity to call for intentional walks. David Purcey gave up a leadoff double in the 10th, which prompted an IBB. Then Darin Ruf hit a swinging bunt to advance the runners, which meant another IBB. In came Troncoso, who struck out Delmon Young to give the Sox hope. That lasted one more pitch, as John Mayberry Jr. redirected the first pitch he saw up the middle to end the game, and the half.
At least Phegley's single put Jose Quintana back into no-decision territory. He pitched OK, meeting the bare minimum for a quality start on a sweltering day. He gave up a two-run double to Domonic Brown in the first -- De Aza's lack of familiarity with the deepest part of Citizens Bank Park showed. More painful was the RBI single by the pitcher Hamels in the fourth. Hamels is an OK hitter (he added a double later), but still.
The Sox, on the other hand, couldn't see a threat through to fruition.
In the fifth, Hamels plunked Viciedo, only to erase that mistake with a double play ball off the bat of Keppinger. Phegley reapplied pressure with a double and moved to third on a Brent Morel infield single, but that brought the pitcher to the mound. Quintana could only ground out into a fielder's choice. Clearing the pitcher came at a cost.
One inning later, Alejandro De Aza led off with a double. Alexei Ramirez couldn't advance him, and then De Aza removed himself by breaking the wrong way on Alex Rios' soft liner. Utley caught it and stepped on the bag to end the inning.
The Sox actually produced a run in the seventh. Adam Dunn doubled, and although he couldn't move up on Viciedo's flared single over Jimmy Rollins, Keppinger drove him in with a single to the right-center gap anyway. That cut the lead to 3-1, with a position to add more. But Phegley struck out on a changeup in the dirt, and Morel bounced into a 5-4-3 double play to kill yet another rally.
The bullpen allowed the Sox a chance to strike back, as Matt Lindstrom, Donnie Veal and Jones combined for three scoreless innings to get the game into extras. Veal looked particulary dominant, striking out Brown and Utley on three pitches apiece.