Two feet and two pitches turned this game on its ear.
In the top of the sixth inning, A.J. Pierzynski squared up a Justin Masterson pitch and blasted it to deep center. It had the velocity, but not the height, bouncing off the top of the wall. Instead of a solo shot, he had a two-out double, and Alexei Ramirez couldn't extend the 1-0 lead, grounding out to short.
Moving to the bottom of the inning, John Danks appeared to be in control - or at least as in control as somebody can be with a 1-0 lead -- when he left an 0-2 fastball over the plate to Travis Hafner. Hafner ripped Danks' 101st pitch of the day to center for a two-out single.
His 102nd pitch ended up outside Progressive Field. Orlando Cabrera turned on the first pitch and sent a screamer bouncing on the concourse and through a gate. The Indians led 2-1, and it only got uglier from there.
Once again, John Danks just doesn't know how to win.
Ozzie Guillen didn't seem to give the Sox much of a chance of survival, as he chose Will Ohman to try to get through an entire inning. He started by walking lefty Jack Hannahan (who homered off him in the opener, so ... an improvement), and then Lou Marson crushed a double to right-center to give the Tribe a two-run lead in a flash. A sac bunt and a sac fly pushed it to three.
One inning wasn't enough. Guillen stuck with Ohman to face Carlos Santana and Hafner. Santana singled (he homered off him in the opener, so ... an improvement), and Hafner hit a grounder to first that could have been a 3-6-1 double play. Just one little problem - Ohman was late in covering. The dividends are multifold!
Guillen then went to Phil Humber for a couple batters (no outs), and Matt Thornton needed two batters to find his sea legs as well. Uninspiring work by uninspiring bullpen choices.
The only thing uglier than the "relief" was Ramirez's bunt attempts in the fourth. After Carlos Quentin walked and Pierzynski singled to lead off the inning, Guillen called for Ramirez to bunt. As aggravating as bunts are, the call had its defenses. Ramirez bounced out to the left side in both his other at-bats against the righty-killing Masterson, so I could see why avoiding the double play would take priority.
But if Guillen called for Ramirez to push-bunt, then I retract my entire argument. It's well known that Ramirez can only bunt when he tries bunting for a hit (a drag bunt down the third-base line). When he actually tries squaring up, it's a disaster. Sure enough, Ramirez popped up the first bunt that fell foul just in front of a diving Santana. A diving Santana actually caught the second one. A 3-4-6 triple play ensued, and the Sox offense offered little after that.
Had Ramirez succeeded, it might have been a nice way to build on the 1-0 lead the Sox built in the third with a couple nice plate appearances. Adam Dunn drew a nice two-out walk with a full-count check-swing to extend the inning, and Paul Konerko was able to get around on an inside sinker and send it through the hole on the left side.
*Gordon Beckham made a brilliant leaping catch over second base on a two-out hit-and-run to keep the Indians off the board.
*Masterson didn't strike out a batter, but he held White Sox righties to two hits over 18 at-bats, with Beckham taking the rare fastball to the back thigh.
*Alex Rios was among those held hitless, and is 0-for-12 to start the season.