Beyond the Box Score conveniently published a post on Tuesday identifying A.J. Pierzynski as the second-worst defensive catcher out of 94.
He lived up to his reputation in the extra innings. In the 10th inning, he allowed leadoff hitter Billy Butler to reach first on strike three (the fifth time this season a strikeout has led to a baserunner). He made it to third with one out, but Chris Sale prevented him from scoring.
Sale would be saddled with the loss one inning later from the bench. Ozzie Guillen called for Sergio Santos to face Butler. Pierzynski called for sliders, and Santos threw them low. Pierzynski blocked one that Butler swung over, but he couldn't absorb the second one. It rolled far enough away for Alex Gordon to dive in safely to avenge the walk-off balk from a couple weeks ago.
But Pierzynski is merely the fall guy for another putrid offensive output, which could only muster one run -- a Carlos Quentin solo shot -- off Bruce Chen and friends. Their first inning ended with a strike-him-out-throw-him-out, and three of their first four innings ended with double plays.
The fourth hurt the most. With Omar Vizquel on second and Brent Morel on first and one out, Juan Pierre lined out to first, and Eric Hosmer caught Vizquel straying too far off second to kill the Sox's last viable threat of the game.
Otherwise, Kansas City pitchers rarely had to sweat, even with the temperature around 100. Chen needed just 83 pitches to get through eight innings, and when he left the game, the Sox weren't any less patient. Three Kansas City pitchers combined to throw 117 pitches over 11 innings, compared to the Sox's 182 over 10 2/3.
Hell, John Danks threw 110 by himself over seven shutout innings in a great return gone unrewarded. He left with a 1-0 lead, but Matt Thornton gave up a leadoff single to Alex Gordon. Mitch Maier botched a sacrifice bunt to keep Gordon at first, but an ineffective Jesse Crain allowed him to score on two straight hits. Sale was able to clean up his mess and preserve the tie, the first out of nine he recorded on the night.
Even Ozzie Guillen couldn't escape the game unscathed. Mike Moustakas fouled a ball back to the screen, but a bizarre deflection put it on a course directly for Guillen's eye. It required an ice pack for the final few innings.