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Indians 6, White Sox 3: No running from walks

He struck out in the first, but Travis Hafner got the last laugh-ner.
He struck out in the first, but Travis Hafner got the last laugh-ner.

Considering White Sox pitchers walked eight batters, this game was a lot closer than it should have been. Throughout the evening, they found ways to extend the inning long enough for Cleveland hitters to take advantage and extend a lead.

Philip Humber had problems with the odd innings all night, but somehow kept the Indians scoreless until the fifth. He erased a leadoff walk with a double play, but he couldn't escape his two-out walk. Sure, Gordon Beckham should have kept his glove down on Travis Hafner's screaming grounder to second, but Humber made matters worse by rolling a curve to Carlos Santana. Santana nearly reached the concourse with a 430-foot, three-run homer to right, giving the Indians a 3-1 lead.

Those runs should have been unearned (Beckham was originally charged with an error, before Bob Rosenberg changed his mind and called it a single), but Humber deserved to have three runs on his line, considering he walked a career-high six over six innings.

The two-out walk bit the Sox again in the eighth. Will Ohman did just that after allowing a two-out single to Michael Brantley, which pushed the go-ahead run into scoring position. The Indians went ahead and went ahead, with Jack Hannahan slashing a grounder down the line for an RBI double.

And in the ninth, Matt Thornton issued the final walk of the evening. This one came with one out, but it happened to set up a Hafner two-run blast that pushed the game out of reach.

Then again, if the White Sox can pitch this poorly and keep it this close, maybe that's a good thing. They came right back after Santana's three-run blast, with Alexei Ramirez delivering a two-run, two-out single with the bases loaded to tie the game.

Adam Dunn couldn't keep that rally going, as he struck out looking. But he did OK for himself. He hit an opposite-field solo shot in the fourth inning to give the Sox their first hit and run off Josh Tomlin, and then tried to start a threat in the eighth when he lined a single to right off Tony Sipp (Dunn is now 3-for-26 against lefties this season). After a Paul Konerko flyout, pinch-running Brent Lillibridge tried stealing second with two strikes on A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski went down swinging, and Lillibridge was called out on a bang-bang play at second. He might have been safe, but when I couldn't be sure after a few slo-mo replays, it's hard to argue Marty Foster screwed up.

Bullet points:

  • The middle of the order came up short for the Sox tonight, as Konerko, Pierzynski and Alex Rios went 1-for-12.
  • Ventura's bullpen management didn't seen especially sound. He probably stuck with Will Ohman too long, and used Reed against lefty Jack Hannahan instead of Matt Thornton for what turned out to be the game-winning hit. But considering Reed gave up a hit right away, and Thornton was tagged for a homer, no reliever made a compelling case that he should have been used sooner.
  • The Indians started nine left-handed hitters against Humber (two switch-hitters).
  • Pierzynski committed his first error of the year when his throw sailed into center field on Santana's steal of second. Zach Stewart pitched around it.
  • Along with the big two-run hit, Alexei Ramirez made this play:

Record: 12-12 | Box score | Play-by-play