And now we know why Ozzie Guillen really wants his players to make contact.
The White Sox were on their way to blowing their second consecutive late-inning scoring opportunity when Omar Vizquel struck out with runners on the corners and one out.
That brought Juan Pierre to the plate to face tough Toronto lefty Marc Rzepczynski. Rzepczynski had thwarted the previous rally by striking out Adam Dunn on three pitches. Pierre put up a better fight, but even he was up against the ropes with a 2-2 count.
Gordon Beckham stole second on ball three, and with the count full, Pierre caught a loose strand on the seam of a diving curve, tipping a potential third strike to keep the at-bat alive. On the next pitch, he chopped it up the first base line.
And then this happened (courtesy of Jeff of Lookout Landing):
Rzepczynski was a step and a half late covering the bag, and that's all Pierre needed to beat him to the bag. Both runners scored, and Sergio Santos had a game to save. He overcame an ill-advised one-out walk by striking out the last two batters to end the game.
If there was one drawback to this victory -- aside from needing the Blue Jays' defense to get the game-winning run across the plate -- it was that Phil Humber was one out short of earning the win.
Humber did the job once again, pitching a career-high 7 2/3 innings and allowing just one run. That came on a hanging curve that Yunel Escobar drove over the center-field fence. Otherwise, he was outstanding, getting a lot of weak contact and taking advantage of the breaks. He also had to clean up one of his own mistakes when he rushed a throw after fielding a chopper and threw it away.
A big one came in the fourth inning, when Rob Drake blew a call at second. It's rare that somebody actually makes the mistake of thinking A.J. Pierzynski threw out a runner, but he somehow called Corey Patterson out. That loomed large when Juan Rivera singled to left, because Humber managed to escape the inning unscored upon.
Alas, Patterson got a little bit of revenge when he ended Humber's night with a line-drive single to right on a 3-2 count with two outs in the eighth. That brought Jose Bautista to the plate, and Ozzie Guillen opted for a fresh reliever in Jesse Crain.
Patterson made an odd choice of taking the bat out of the hands of his team's best hitters when he stole second on a 2-1 pitch. That made the intentional walk a no-brainer, and Rivera grounded out to short to end the threat.
Brandon Morrow was equally up to the task. He held the Sox hitless for the first 4 1/3 innings before Pierzynski canceled the postgame show with a single to left. He moved to second on a hit-and-run single by Omar Vizquel, and scored when Pierre hit a two-out single to right.
Pierre ended up accounting for all three runs -- the two RBI, and the third run that scored on the error.
Dunn, on the other hand, struck out in all four at-bats.