Did the White Sox win because Angel Hernandez blew a call ... in Minnesota's favor?
Maybe causation is too strong, but a sleepy game turned into a stomping shortly after Hernandez correctly ruled that Darin Mastroianni trapped Alejandro De Aza's line drive to lead off the seventh, then changed his mind. Sure, it makes sense that Hernandez's correct calls are accidents, but he robbed the Sox of what appeared to be a much-needed baserunner.
Turns out, they didn't need him at all.
Tyler Robertson undid the good fortune by walking Kevin Youkilis on four pitches. That brought Adam Dunn to the plate, who got down on a knee-high 2-2 slider that caught too much of the plate and pretty much one-handed it over the Twins' bullpen to tie the game at 4.
It wasn't a rally-killing homer, either. Paul Konerko greeted Casey Fien with a single up the middle, and Alex Rios hit a double off the left-field wall that took Josh Willingham with it. The ball bounded away, and Konerko probably could have scored from first if he read it correctly. Instead, he thought that Willingham might have caught it, and he could only advance to third.
Robin Ventura pulled Konerko for Eduardo Escobar, but that move, too, didn't matter. After a walk to Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo lined a two-run single to left to give the Sox a 6-4 lead.
And if that wasn't enough, they piled on five more runs in the eighth with a two-run double by Dunn, an RBI single by Rios, and a two-run homer for Ramirez, which turned this game into a laugher, and Hernandez's erroneous reversal is almost sort of endearing. Who knows? If De Aza were to be given the single, maybe he ends up getting stranded at second.
It also gave Jose Quintana an incredibly satisfying no-decision. He didn't pitch poorly to eight of the nine Minnesota hitters, but Willingham had himself a day at the plate. He tied the game in the fourth with a solo shot on a fastball that hit the wrong side of the plate, and then gave the Twins a 4-2 lead on a three-run shot in the sixth.
Quintana appeared to be destined for a loss through six innings, because Konerko was just about the Sox's entire offense against Cole De Vries, who induced a ton of pop-ups. The Sox scored the first run when Brian Dozier double-clutched and threw wide on what should have been an inning-ending groundout. Instead, Adam Dunn came home to score (and Konerko doubled him to third).
In the fifth inning, Konerko didn't get all of De Vries' inside-half fastball, but he got enough to just barely push it over Willingham's glove for a go-ahead solo shot. Konerko went 4-for-4, and now has 15 hits in his last 28 at-bats.
- Viciedo and Ramirez combined to throw out Justin Morneau at second when he tried stretching a single into a double.
- Ramirez also made a very nice play up the middle to rob Joe Mauer of a single after Quintana missed his chance to stab it with his glove.
- Tyler Flowers, making a surprise start for A.J. Pierzynski (oblique strain), went 1-for-4 with a double and a walk.
- Gordon Beckham had a miserable day at the plate, going 0-for-4 with two popouts and an inning-ending double play.
- Brett Myers finished the game with a seven run lead, which was a curious decision by Ventura considering he has a $10 million vesting option for 2013 if finishes 45 games this year. Tonight was No. 30, so I wonder if the Astros threw in enough cash to make ignoring that milestone worthwhile.
- The White Sox are now tied with the Tigers for first.