Coming off an embarrassing effort that Robin Ventura needed only 9.8 seconds to sum up, the White Sox sought redemption. They didn't quite find it on a pleasant Friday afternoon, as the Sox dropped yet another game to the Indians, but they did play something more closely resembling baseball.
And at a leisurely pace, too. Normally, a 3-1 game shouldn't take 3½ hours, but inefficiency by both teams' starters -- Hector Santiago for Chicago, Danny Salazar for Cleveland -- combined with expanded rosters and squandered scoring opportunities abound made it happen.
Eight Indians pitchers combined to allow just one unearned run. The White Sox stranded 13 runners by going 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Adam Dunn led the way by going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and eight stranded, and even though Paul Konerko came through with the lone run-scoring hit, he stranded six runners himself.
Both veterans faltered in the Sox's best scoring chance of the day. Trailing 3-1, Jordan Danks led off with a single, stole second and moved to third and Marcus Semien's bloop single.
Up came Alexei Ramirez, who smoked a liner right at Asdrubal Cabrera for the first out. Next came Dunn, who got into a favorable 3-0 count against Marc Rzepczynski, during which Semien swiped second to put the tying run in scoring position. Dunn then swung through three straight two-seamers that drifted off the plate inside. Terry Francona then lifted his LOOGY for Matt Albers, who fell behind Konerko 2-0 before getting him to ground out weakly to third, ending the threat.
The Sox did put two on against Cleveland closer Chris Perez, as Ramirez singled and Dunn walked, but Konerko hit a flyout to center to end the game.
So Hector Santiago was saddled with the loss. He exited after four innings and two batters due to a high pitch count (94 pitches), and Jake Petricka allowed both of his inherited runners to score, which dug too deep of a hole for the Sox. He allowed six hits and three walks over four innings, striking out three.
But Santiago wasn't alone. Hard-throwing phenom Danny Salazar showed off his electric fastball for nine strikeouts over 3⅔ innings, but it came at a cost. Francona lifted the 23-year-old after 78 pitches, and had to piece the rest of the game together with the bullpen. Seven relievers were able to keep the Sox at bay, outside from a Konerko RBI single in the fifth inning that cut Cleveland's lead to 3-1. Thanks to an equally stout effort by the White Sox's bullpen -- led by David Purcey's eight-up-eight-down day -- that's where the game stayed.