Through eight shutout innings, Jose Quintana had thrown just 77 pitches. He didn't give the Dodgers much to square up, allowing just five hits and zero walks while striking out six.
He was making a run at the fewest pitches by a White Sox pitcher in a nine-inning complete game -- at least since pitch counts became official. Jack McDowell needed just 83 to beat Milwaukee on July 14, 1991.
For some reason, Quintana didn't get the chance. Instead, Robin Ventura went with the closer in the traditional closer situation, and the move didn't pay off.
Bobby Abreu tomahawked an 0-2 fastball into left field to lead off the inning, and it was downhill from there. Sure, the Dodgers tried to help when Dee Gordon fouled off a bunt with two strikes, but Elian Herrera leaked a single through the right side on a hit-and-run (Gordon Beckham was covering second with a lefty hitting), and a sac fly tied the game.
Jordan Danks joined in the poor decision making with one out in the 10th. Tony Gwynn Jr. shot a single to left, and Danks made an ill-advised diving attempt. It went behind him for two-base error, and the Sox caught another break, because Gwynn probably could have scored.
They caught another break when a drawn-in Gordon Beckham snagged Matt Treanor's hot grounder to keep Gwynn at third. But Thornton threw a 1-0 fastball knee-high and over the center of the plate, and he lined it to left to win the game, and the series. All three games were decided by one run. The Sox have now lost four straight series.
Then again, one could argue Quintana's shutout effort needed an asterisk thanks to a blown call by Jerry Meals.
With runners on the corners and one out in the sixth, Herrera hit a flyball to medium right field. Treanor, the runner on third, tagged up, and Alex Rios made a pretty good throw home that Tyler Flowers couldn't handle.
The Sox appealed Treanor's tag, and third base umpire Meals called Treanor out. Except that one didn't count, because home plate umpire Gary Darling had called time. So Quintana threw to third again, Meals made the out sign, and the Sox were out of the inning unscored open.
Replay cameras showed that Treanor tagged up properly.
The Sox needed help from outside, because they had trouble making their own luck. Poor defense from Herrera helped the Sox score their only run in the top of the sixth. Brent Lillibridge led off with a single, and Herrera backed up on it as it bounced towards him. He batted it away from himself, and Lillibridge was able to take second on the error.
After Gordon Beckham bounced out to second to move Lillibridge to third, Adam Dunn struck out, putting the rally in jeopardy. Enter Dayan Viciedo, who shot a single past a diving Jerry Hariston Jr. to give the Sox a 1-0 lead.
The Sox had a few other chances to score, but unlikely developments thwarted them.
In the first, Viciedo singled to left-center to move Beckham to third, but Viciedo tried moving up to second on the throw. Juan Uribe left third to handle the throw, and cut down Viciedo at second with time to spare.
In the second, Jordan Danks appeared to steal second successfully with one out ... but Tyler Flowers meandered into Matt Treanor's path as he threw to second, because he thought he walked. Batter's interference turned it into a double play. Flowers ended up striking out four times on the day, but it looked like he took ball four on three of them.
A lineup without Alejandro De Aza, Paul Konerko and a DH spot wasn't a good matchup against Chris Capuano on paper, and 13 strikeouts certainly confirmed that notion.
- Beckham finished off his excellent defensive series in style. Along with that grab in the 10th, he made a tough turn on a double play in the first, then used every inch of his vertical to make a leaping catch on a soft liner behind him.
- Andre Ethier was just as stout in right, making two diving catches in front of him, and robbing Lillibridge of at least two bases with a leaping catch at the wall.