This qualifies as the latter. The White Sox took a 2-0 lead into the ninth inning, and ended up losing five innings later during Ronald Belisario's third inning of work.
Whether Belisario should've been out there is a good question, as he ended up throwing 57 pitches when Daniel Webb and Andre Rienzo were available. Then again, his loss wasn't really the result of decreasing pitch quality. An infield single by Michael Saunders turned into the game-winning run when Belisario threw well high and wide on a pitchout, then gave up a ground-rule double for the decisive run.
And Ventura had reason to believe he'd need to cover an infinite amount of innings, because outside of the eighth inning, the offense was nonexistent.
- Eighth inning: 2-for-5.
- Otherwise: 2-for-42, two walks.
That one inning was pretty sweet, though. Conor Gillaspie led it off with a triple, which was the Sox' first hit since their first batter of the game (Adam Eaton singled). Dayan Viciedo swung on the very next pitch and dropped a double to the right-center gap to break the scorelessness.
Moises Sierra pinch-ran for him, which looked to be a poor decision for about four seconds. Alejandro De Aza hit a hard grounder to the right side. Sierra broke for third, but Robinson Cano made a smart throw to third to get Sierra in a pickle. Sierra extended the rundown to a second throw to give De Aza a chance to replace him at second, and that forced Kyle Seager to try to slap a hasty tag on Sierra with hopes of a double play.
Problem was, he whiffed on the tag, then threw late to second. He would've gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddling White Sox, who challenged the play and saw it overturned. Tyler Flowers then hit a fly to deepish left field for a sac fly, and the Sox led 2-0.
Robin Ventura used Eric Surkamp against Cano to start the ninth. Of course, Surkamp, who had been reliable, fell behind 3-0 en route to a five-pitch walk. In came Zach Putnam, and he wasn't much more effective. He hung a splitter to Corey Hart, who smacked it through the left side for a single. Seager then murdered a ball to right, which Sierra caught, but allowed Cano to tag to third. He scored on Mike Zunino's sac fly for the second out, with the tying run still on first.
Nevertheless, the Mariners found a way to get it home. Logan Morrison's grounder deflected off Jose Abreu's mitt and Gordon Beckham's bare hand to put runners on the corners, and Saunders lined a single to right to extend the game.
That turned a couple of sterling starts into no-decisions, which is customary for Jose Quintana, at least. Quintana matched the frontrunner for All-Star starter pitch for pitch into the eighth inning, striking out 10 while allowing just four hits and a walk. He didn't really feel any heat until the eighth inning, when Morrison singled and Saunders walked to start the inning. Quintana then compounded problems by trying to start a 1-6-3 double play instead of getting the lead runner at third after fielding a comebacker. He got the force at second, but the play developed too slowly to have a chance at turning two, and it left the potential first run of the game 90 feet away.
After the Mariners tied it, the White Sox' only good chance came in the bottom of the ninth. Abreu reached on an error to start the inning, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Ventura resisted pinch-running for him until two outs, when he decided he wanted Konerko to hit in Sierra's place with two outs and the winning run on second. That moved forced Ventura to pinch-run Leury Garcia for Abreu, since he'd have to enter as a defensive replacement, anyway.
The move didn't work, because Konerko grounded out harmlessly to second to push the game into extras. Abreu's spot came around twice, although Garcia did have the Sox' lone hit after the eighth with a single to lead off the 11th. Konerko went 0-for-2.
Eaton saved Javy Guerra a leadoff runner in the top of the 11th, crashing into the wall to steal extra bases away from Morrison. Morrison hit the ball on a seam to the deepest part of the park, and the knuckling action forced Eaton to make the catch reaching behind him as he approached the wall, but he held on after impact.
*Abreu went 0-for-4 to end his hitting streak at 18 games. He looked like he could add Hernandez to his list of homers off Cy Young winners when he hit a high fly off a hanging slider to right center, but Jones made a wall-crashing catch of his own to take away a double.
*Quintana lowered his ERA to 3.20. He's good.
*Roughest days at the plate? Either Adam Dunn (0-for-5, three strikeouts, one walk) or Alexei Ramirez (0-for-6, two strikeouts). Both stranded three runners.