Here's a list of days since August 4th in which the White Sox won and the Twins lost (when they didn't play each other): August 29th.
That's it. That's the list of days in which the Sox picked up a full game on the Twins without the benefit of playing head-to-head.
So when the out of town scoreboard was showing the Twins getting shut down by Fausto Carmona and the Indians, the Sox saw they had the opportunity to do more than hold-serve in a must-win series (nearly a must-sweep series).
Picking up ground wouldn't be easy, however, not with Joe West and crew in town. When last we spoke of West, he was stupidly starting games and interjecting himself into the playoff race by forcing a double-header after burning starting pitchings in a game that lasted 9 minutes before a rain delay. Before that you'll remember him from the two-balk, Buerhle ejection in Cleveland earlier this year.
Good ol' Joe was at it again, this time employing his sidekick Angel Hernandez, who stuck to the script and also called Buehrle for two balks. They have an agenda and they sure stick to it. Hernandez, who was working behind home plate, seemed to call the second balk on Mark Buehrle for bringing his front leg back beyond his back knee, which at 60 feet seems like an impossible call to make, especially when replays showed nothing. Thankfully, West didn't feel the need to toss Buehrle after his demonstrative reaction to the second balk call (note: tossing your hat = stay in the game; toss your glove = ejection).
The balk is one of the most convoluted judgement calls in sports and presents the perfect opportunity to execute a little bias, to hold a grudge against a particular pitcher or team. Let's just say it's no coincidence that Joe West's name keeps coming up in this space.
As for the actual action decided between the two teams on the field, it was once again Willie Bloomquist who took it to Buehrle and the Sox. He's now 18-39 in his career against Buehrle, adding 2 more doubles and RBIs tonight.
Down 3-1 in the 8th inning, Alexei Ramirez reached base on a throwing error from Yuniesky Betancourt. It was the third defensive miscue by the Royals -- Josh Fields booted a grounder and dropped a pop-up at third base earlier in the game. But the Sox had yet to take advantage of the free outs. Alex Rios quickly changed that with a double down the left field line -- past a diving Fields. That set the stage for a Manny Ramirez, who was promptly pitched around with the Royals eschewing any swings from Ramirez in favor of A.J. Pierzynski. A.J. didn't disappoint, stinging one to center field that skirted by Gregor Blanco and allowed pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge to score easily from first base.
From there it was a 1-2-single-3 inning from fireballing rookie Chris Sale, and the Sox picked up a game on the Twins. Repeat, The White Sox picked up a game on the Twins. I hope to be writing that with considerable frequency in the next week.