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Dirty Dozen- Royals Top Sox in 12

What looked like the start of an excellent night, took a terrible turn for the worse on Tuesday evening.  Juan Pierre led off the game with a triple into the right center field gap and scored on a single by Gordon Beckham.  After an Adam Dunn walk, Paul Konerko hit a monster home run to left.  Luke Hochevar looked to be on the ropes when Alex Rios followed the homer with a single of his own, putting the first 5 hitters on base.  Hochevar retired the next 3 hitters, but the Sox went to the bottom of the first leading 4-0.  

Unfortunately, it didn't stay that way for long as Gavin Floyd gave two runs back immediately on an Alex Gordon homer to deep center field.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when a starter gives back runs after a big inning early in the game.  Floyd continued to push my buttons in the 2nd inning as two more runs crossed the plate on a two out Melky Cabrera single to tie the game at 4.  

After the 2nd, both starters settled in nicely.  Hochevar breezed through the Sox lineup until the 6th inning, when Carlos Quentin led off the inning with a base hit.  After an A.J. Pierzynski fly out, Alexei Ramirez plated Quentin with a triple down the right field line.  Ramirez scored when Juan Pierre hit a high chopper to third baseman Mike Aviles, who bobbled the ball allowing Ramirez to score.  Hopefully Pierre pulled an O.C. and phoned the official scorer, because that was an infield hit in my book.  

Floyd didn't give up another run after the 2nd and rebounded to give the Sox 7 innings.  Leading 6-4, the Sox called on their bullpen to preserve a  close game for the first time this season.  Chris Sale was brought in to bridge the game to Matt Thornton.  After Cabrera flied out to Quentin, it was Gordon again who got things started with a double.  Billy Butler followed that up with a long home run to tie the game at 6.

The Royals bullpen of Aaron Crow, Joakim Soria, Robinson Tejada, Kanekoa Texeira and Jeremy Jeffress held the Sox scoreless for the final 6 innings of the contest.  The Sox best chance came in the 12th as Beckham led off the inning with a sharp single.  Adam Dunn proceeded to ground to 2nd and force Beckham.  Brent Lillibridge entered the game as a pinch runner for Dunn.  After Konerko walked, Lillibridge was picked off of 2nd base.  3rd base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt called Lillibridge safe at third.  After a conference, the call was reversed.  Lillibridge was indeed out at third, but you have to wonder how a guy with the play right in front of him lets a guy who is 90 feet away reverse his call.  Rios then grounded into the hole at short, where Alcides Escobar made a great play to get him at first to end the inning.

Jesse Crain and Sergio Santos matched the Royals pen for 3 innings, as both men looked very good.  In the bottom of the 12th, however, Tony Pena was brought in.  Chris Getz singled up the middle and was bunted to 2nd by Aviles. Up stepped Melky Cabrera who singled up the middle to bring home the winning run.  


* Alex Rios recorded his first 2 hits of the season as he went 2-6.

* The best pitcher in the bullpen, Matt Thornton, did not enter the game.  I think the Sox need to rethink their bullpen strategy.

* Brent Lillibridge was used to pinch run for Adam Dunn.  He was then picked off.  If you are going to pinch run for the best hitter on your team, don't get picked off.  I also see a scenario where Lillibridge will pinch run for Dunn, get stranded, and Dunn's spot will come up later in the game.  This will cause my blood pressure to increase greatly. 

* A win is important tomorrow afternoon, as coming home 2-3 vs. the Indians and Royals would not be an optimal start.

Record 2-2| Box score