Robin Ventura earned his first victory as manager thanks to a couple of unlikely sources.
In the top of the ninth, the much-maligned Alex Rios jumped on a 1-2 Joe Nathan fastball and sent it over the center field fence to give the Sox a 4-3 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Ventura called on Hector Santiago to close it out.
Santiago passed the first test by picking up first career save, but he owes Alexei Ramirez a beer. Had Ramirez not made a brilliant sliding, over-the-shoulder catch in shallow center to start the inning, who knows what the end of the game would have looked like. The web gem gave Santiago a much easier path to the 27th out, and after an Ian Kinsler groundout and an Elvis Andrus lineout to right, the White Sox had their first victory of the season.
Santiago's successful job closed out three scoreless innings by the White Sox bullpen -- Will Ohman and Addison Reed worked a 1-2-3 seventh, and Matt Thornton pitched around two soft singles, an HBP and a 3-0 count with the bases loaded to get through the eighth. They went head-to-head against the best of the Texas bulpen (Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Nathan) and came out on top.
Jake Peavy also held up well, battling counterpart Derek Holland to a draw. Each pitcher allowed three runs over six innings, and both pitchers seemed to find grooves from the fourth inning on.
In Peavy's case, the leadoff man reached in three of the first four innings. A leadoff "triple" by Ian Kinsler (a single that Alejandro De Aza misjudged with an ill-advised dive) led to two Texas runs in the third, tying the game at 3.
When David Murphy stung Peavy for a double to lead off the fourth, it looked like Peavy's night took a turn for the worse. But Peavy righted himself by striking out Mike Napoli, getting Mitch Moreland to hit a weak tapper, then getting Kinsler to fly out to right. Peavy finished his night by retiring nine of the last 10 batters he faced. His slider was getting more swings and misses off the plate, as opposed to earlier in the game when Rangers hitters were golfing the low ones for singles.
Holland's problems stemmed mostly from Paul Konerko. After De Aza started the game with a single and a stolen base on Adam Dunn's strikeout, Konerko drove him in with a single to left. Two innings later, Konerko smashed a double to the right-center gap for two more RBI, with Adam Dunn scoring all the way from first. Not a bad way for Konerko to celebrate his 2,000th big-league game.
- Tyler Flowers is 1-for-1 throwing out basestealers, gunning down Kinsler in the first inning even with an ugly-looking throw.
- While Flowers might be Peavy's personal catcher, they had problems getting on the same page. There were lots of long look-ins and step-offs, including one that led to a balk call when Peavy couldn't make up his mind. On that aforementioned strikeout of Napoli, Flowers was lucky to knock the ball down, because he did not think a fastball was coming.