White Sox 7, Twins 6 (11 innings): Walk-off Wild Pitch Offense

Brian Kersey

After rallying for two runs in the ninth, Sox cap comeback with plenty of help from Minnesota

In a battle between two teams who don't quite know how to win yet, the White Sox prevailed as the team that wanted to lose less.

The Sox overcame a 6-4 deficit in the ninth inning courtesy of a Minnesota error, then won it two innings later courtesy of the Wild Pitch Offense.

Leury Garcia, who drove in the first of two ninth-inning runs with a single, set the table with an 0-2 bunt single that hugged the fair side of the third base line. He moved to second when Sad Samuel Deduno tried to quick-pitch Adam Eaton and C.B. Bucknor called it a balk.

Deduno struck out Eaton, but with Marcus Semien at the plate, Deduno threw a wild pitch to move Garcia to third. Then Deduno struck out Semien, but after Jose Abreu's second intentional walk of the game, Deduno's ball four to Adam Dunn flew wide, and Kurt Suzuki couldn't corral it. Garcia crossed the plate to give the Sox an extra-inning victory after going 8-15 during free baseball last season.

It was a fitting conclusion for a game between two teams that deserved each other.

The White Sox held a 3-2 lead into the seventh, with the entirety of their scoring taking place in the second on an Alexei Ramirez two-run double and an Adam Eaton sacrifice fly.

Scott Downs started the seventh -- and his White Sox career -- by walking Joe Mauer, the only guy he faced. Nate Jones followed with a walk of his own, then gave up the lead via a ground-rule double by Jason Kubel. A Don Cooper mound visit didn't help, because Trevor Plouffe inside-outed a fastball to right to drive in two more, giving the Twins a 5-3 lead.

Daniel Webb calmed things down by getting a fly to center -- at least until Ron Gardenhire challenged it. Adam Eaton caught Oswaldo Arcia's flyball, then dropped the transfer. Arcia was initially ruled out, and Eaton threw it back to the infield as Plouffe retreated to first. Ron Gardenhire came out to press for a review, and after a lengthy process, the call was overturned, and Plouffe, for some reason, was awarded second. Webb pitched around the errors, and it remained a two-run game.

More bad breaks were in store. With a runner on second and two outs in the seventh, Eaton smashed one back up the middle. Problem was, it found Casey Fien's ankle, and the painful carom bounced right toward Mauer, who stepped on first to end a threat. When Adam Dunn took Jared Burton deep for a solo homer in the eighth inning, the lack of a run became more glaring. Throw in a Suzuku two-out, run-scoring double to right field in the ninth, and coming back against Twins closer Glen Perkins seemed to be too tall a task.

Robin Ventura went to his bench, which was already down one man since Conor Gillaspie had the flu. Paul Konerko pinch-hit for Alejando De Aza, and smashed a single off Plouffe's glove. Two batters later, Dayan Viciedo pinch-hit for Tyler Flowers and slashed a single to right. Adrian Nieto, who pinch-ran for Konerko, moved to second on the base hit, and the upgrade in wheels paid off when he scored on Garcia's single to left, which made it 6-5.

With Eaton at the plate, Wild Pitch Offense moved both runners into scoring position. It didn't look like it mattered when Eaton tapped the ball to third. Viciedo broke for home and looked like a dead duck, but Plouffe flung it well wide and allowed the tying run to score. Garcia moved up to third, and the Sox still had two chances to get the winning run home. Alas, Semien struck out (rough day for him), and after the first intentional walk to Abreu, Dunn grounded out to first.

The Sox tied the game, but Ventura spent his bench to do it, and the bullpen wasn't in optimal shape, either. Veal survived some control problems to get the first two outs of the 10th, including a key strikeout of Jason Kubel. With Plouffe at the plate, Ventura called for Ronald Belisario, who retired Plouffe on a one-foot tapper in front of the plate to end the inning.

That left only Matt Lindstrom available, but Belisario had it under control. He worked a 1-2-3 11th to record his first victory of the season.

Bullet points:

*Felipe Paulino pitched OK in his White Sox debut, overcoming major inefficiency problems early to throw 5⅓ innings of one-run ball. He left a runner on third for Mikael Cleto, but Cleto induced two popouts to preserve the lead.

*Semien isn't putting any heat on Beckham, going 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. He did make all the plays in a late-notice start at third.

*Leury Garcia committed the White Sox's first error of the season by ole'ing a humpbacked one-hopper. Eaton committed the second with the drop on the transfer.

*Flowers committed the second baserunning out by getting caught between second and third on Eaton's sac fly. If he was trying to bait the cutoff man, it was unnecessary.

Record: 2-0 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights

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