Wilson Betemit was designed to annoy the White Sox. The only time he's failed to hit in front of Sox fans was when he wore the uniform.
This time, he wore down Matt Thornton until Thornton put a fastball over the plate. Betemit shot it back through the middle to drive in the go-ahead run, thwarting a solid offensive performance against Justin Verlander. Thornton got ahead of Betemit 0-2, and made a couple of questionably located pitches. He could've been more careful, considering lefty Alex Avila was on deck, but he stayed in the strike zone, and Betemit made him pay.
Betemit drove in a (dreaded) lead-off walk to Victor Martinez by Will Ohman, who got the loss despite throwing a 1-2-3 inning, which means he actually gave the Sox more than one would expect from a left-handed specialist. Then again, after watching Jake Peavy give way over a tough 111-pitch night, the handling of pitchers was strange all night long.
Peavy had great stuff early, but he got sloppier as the game moved into the middle innings. He stranded the bases loaded in the fourth to limit the damage just to one run, but the Tigers singled him to death in the sixth. Brennan Boesch led off with a bunt single, and it was the first of four straight to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Jhonny Peralta followed with a deep fly that Alex Rios could park under for a sac fly.
Carlos Guillen followed with a hard lineout to left, and Betemit shot a double to right to put runners on second third. With Ohman warm and Avila at the plate, Guillen had a second or third opportunity to lift Peavy. Instead, he intentionally walked Avila to bring up Austin Jackson, but Peavy managed to strike him out with a pair of sliders to keep the game in reach.
Paul Konerko got him off the hook in the bottom of the inning when Verlander fell in love with his breaking ball. He allowed a single to Alexei Ramirez on a curve, and then threw a second straight roller to Konerko, who hit a high fly into the White Sox bullpen to tie the game at 4.
Konerko made up for the homer he missed in the first inning, when the wind kept it in the park and limited him to a double. It didn't matter, because Adam Dunn followed with his best at-bat of the year.He fell behind 0-2, watched a pair of curves low, fouled back a fastball, and took another one high and tight to work the count full.
On 3-2, Dunn fouled back a hittable fastball over the plate and knee-high. Then he fought off a low and inside heater. So Verlander threw one more fastball -- this one just above the knees and over the plate. Dunn ran into it and finally hit one of his trademark no-doubters, just right of center, to give the Sox a quick 2-0 lead.
Dunn then proceeded to strike out in his final three at-bats. And the game ended on an Alex Rios groundout to short. So even when something good happens with Paction, it doesn't seem to last.
At least the Sox were able to improve upon their defense from Monday. Alexei made a couple of nice plays to his backhand side, Juan Pierre ran a deep drive down in the gap, and Gordon Beckham kept a single up the middle from reaching center field, to save a run.