THE WHITE SOX CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS, EVIDENCE EXHIBIT ZZZZZZZZZZZ....
The White Sox offense wouldn't let itself get taken for granted tonight. Sure, they almost let Corey Kluber throw nine innings without throwing 100 pitches, but at least they overcame a 3-0 deficit with a three-run sixth, and when they chased Kluber, they made it count.
Conor Gillaspie forced Terry Francona to pull him with two outs in the ninth, when he grounded a single through the left side. Kluber had only thrown 95 pitches, but Francona went to his hard-throwing setup man, Cody Allen. It was a good move on paper that backfired.
Pitch selection played a part. With Viciedo tardy on the fastball, Allen threw him a two-strike slider that Viciedo whistled past Jason Kipnis to put runners on the corners. Gordon Beckham drew a walk to load the bases, and Robin Ventura pulled Josh Phegley for pinch-hitter Jeff Keppinger.
Keppinger saw three straight pitches out of the zone. The fourth pitch was as borderline as a high strike could get (according to CSN Chicago's pitch tracker, the bottom part of the baseball just clipped the top of the zone). He took strike two, a no-doubter pumped down the pipe.
Allen threw Keppinger strike three, and Keppinger shot a line drive past the mound and to the right of a lunging Kipnis. Two runs scored on the single, and Mark Gonzales noted that they were the first two runs driven in by a White Sox pinch hitter all season.
Addison Reed promptly erased them in the bottom of the ninth. He gave up a leadoff double, but plunking Jason Giambi when ahead in the count really put the wheels in motion. Drew Stubbs beat out a bunt single by the slimmest of margins, and two sac flies tied the game. Reed did strike out Asdrubal Cabrera, but not in time to avoid extra innings.
And after a 1-2-HBP-4 inning by Chris Perez, featuring the customary Cleveland reliever plunking, Carlos Santana ended it by hammering a full-count Dylan Axelrod fastball out to right for the second walk-off of the series.
The crazy ending relegated Jose Quintana to footnote status. He didn't pitch poorly, but he wasn't particularly sharp either, and the Indians ran up his pitch count to 107 over five innings. He minimized potentially potent one-run innings in the first and fifth -- including a runner put on third base courtesy of the world's worst rundown, holy crap -- but he left trailing 3-0.
Somehow, the White Sox got him off the hook with a rally in the sixth. Phegley led off with a single, and moved on second on a hit-and-run groundout. He scored on Alexei Ramirez's second double of the game, and the line kept moving. Alex Rios singled to center, and an aggressive Joe McEwing tested Bourn's arm again and won, thanks to a brilliant foot-first slide around Santana's attempt to block the plate. Rios took second on the throw, and he scored when Adam Dunn beat the shift on a weak single to the shortstop side of second, tying the game.
Reed's blown save wasted a nice job by the middle relief unit. Nate Jones pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two while needing just 11 pitches. More surprisingly, David Purcey rebounded from a leadoff walk to Bourn to throw two scoreless innings. He would've been in line for the win, but nobody wins this season.