White Sox 3, Cubs 1 (12 innings): Marcus Semien clutch in crosstown series, too

David Banks

Two-out double drives in game-winning run on an impossible evening for offense

This game could've been over a couple hours earlier had Adam Dunn not declined the gift of Wild Pitch Offense.

Instead, the Sox had to wait until the 12th inning for more heroics from Marcus Semien, who delivered a two-out double to drive in the go-ahead run on a dismal night for offense.

Brisk temperatures and a stiff wind from left basically destroyed any hope for a one-swing offense. Tyler Flowers and Emilio Bonifacio both crushed balls to left, and they didn't even make the warning track. Adam Dunn looked like he got all of one to right center, and it short-hopped the wall. In order to win this one, a team would either need to string together hits, or get some help from the opponent.

In the 12th, the White Sox got both. With two outs, Alexei Ramirez kept the inning alive with a single through the right side off Justin Grimm (his 1,000th career hit). He stole second, which became a moot point when Grimm walked Tyler Flowers. Grimm pitched like he would rather take his chances against Semien, but given later issues, he just might not have been able to find the plate.

If the walk was on purpose, it wasn't a good idea, because Semien still has a flair for the dramatic. With the count 1-1, Semien reached and hooked a slider just in side the left field line. Ramirez scored the go-ahead run, but Flowers had to pull up at third. Once again, it didn't really matter whether the Sox took the extra base, because Grimm's pushed the runners ahead 90 feet. This time, he plunked Paul Konerko on the first pitch, then walked Alejandro De Aza in five for an insurance run.

It looked like Matt Lindstrom would need it when he walked Wellington Castillo to start the bottom of the 12th. But he induced a double-play ball, and after allowing a two-out single to Mike Olt, he slayed Sox-killer Luis Valbuena with a strikeout to bring the game to a merciful end.

Had the Sox lost this one, it'd be hard to argue that they deserved better. They blew two golden opportunities to score against Jeff Samardzija, and Dunn's baserunning blunder in the top of the fourth was far more critical. After hitting the double, he advanced to third on an Anthony Rizzo error (Samardzija made an outstanding over-the-shoulder snag on a chopper over the mound, but Rizzo didn't get low enough for a low through that didn't hit the dirt).

Samardzija rallied by striking out Ramirez on a foul tip, but his 1-2 pitch glanced off Castillo's mitt and rolled to the first-base dugout. For some reason, Dunn didn't break for home, and even his first steps didn't have a lot of urgency. The Sox should have led 2-0 at that point, and the next eight innings would show how difficult it was to attain a second run.

Hell, the fifth inning did that by itself. Semien led off with a single, moved to second on a sac bunt by Jose Quintana, and took third on a passed ball. That gave De Aza an RBI opportunity, but with the contact play on, De Aza hit a weak bouncer back to the mound, and Samardzija had a 1-3 putout.

Both those blown opportunities hurt even more when Samardzija greeted Quintana with a ringing double to lead off the top of the sixth. It was the first and only hit off Quintana, who retired the first 14 batters he faced before walking two batters in the fifth, but it still turned into a run. Samardzija took third on a sac bunt, then scored on a sac fly to tie the game.

As a result, both pitchers pulled off their trademarked outcomes. Quintana received a no-decision for a great line (7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K), and Samardzija is still winless despite a better one (9 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K). He remains winless on the season, even though he lowered his ERA to 1.62.

Credit Robin Ventura with managing a tight game pretty well. He seemed to take Jose Abreu out of the game prematurely when he pinch-ran Moises Sierra for him in the ninth, after Abreu made it to second on the first of back-to-back walks with one out. Dayan Viciedo grounded into a double play, and Sierra ended up hitting in the 11th with the go-ahead run on first and two outs. He bounced back to the pitcher to end the inning.

On the other hand, he didn't run into a pitching or pinch-hitting crisis. Ronald Belisario pitched the eighth and ninth innings, Jake Petricka handled the 10th, and after Scott Downs allowed a walk and a single to lefties after retiring the first two batters, he brought in Daniel Webb to face Starlin Castro. Webb fell behind 3-0, then rallied for an inning-ending strikeout and his second victory in as many days.

Bullet points:

*Abreu drove in the first run of the game in the first inning, hitting a sac fly to left after De Aza led off with a single and moved to third on an Olt throwing error.

*Semien made an excellent barehanded play on a Nate Schierholtz bunt, which would have loomed larger if Quintana kept the no-hitter going longer.

*Rick Renteria won one challenge when De Aza was initially called safe on a stolen-base attempt with two outs in the fifth. The replay showed ... that De Aza fell asleep 10 feet from the bag.

*Renteria lost his second challenge when everybody but the replay center saw that Dunn's foot lost contact with the bag on a high throw by Ramirez (albeit after a fine effort to make the throw in the first place).

*Dunn started the game in left field and handled both flies in his direction.

*Andre Rienzo pinch-ran for Paul Konerko after the HBP, which is fun.

Record: 16-17 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights

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