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Blue Jays 11, White Sox 9: Welcoming a break

Robin Ventura vents.
Robin Ventura vents.

It's fitting that the longest, ugliest game of the year started by not starting, because the first batter of the game didn't know he was the first batter of the game.

The White Sox and umpires had to wait on Davis before Dylan Axelrod could throw his first pitch. It was the first of 390 pitches over a long, messy and drawn-out three-hour, 48 minutes game. If you are bummed out by the All-Star break, this game tried to change your mind.

It's easier just to list all the hard-to-watch occurrences:

  • Axelrod, on three days' rest, started the game walk-homer-walk-homer. He gave up three on the day.
  • Brian Omogrosso gave up a solo homer to the first man he faced.
  • Leyson Septimo relieved Omogrosso after he walked Davis. Davis stole second on him easily, stole third on him easily, and came home on a wild pitch that was also ball four to Colby Rasmus ... the only batter Septimo faced.
  • After the White Sox scored four runs in the fifth, Sox pitchers allowed three runs in the sixth. One came home when the security guard interfered with Jose Bautista's double down the left field line (which might have been foul). Home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn awarded him home plate -- even though Rasmus had just rounded second when the guard touched the ball.
  • The White Sox ended three innings with two strikeouts to strand a runner in scoring position -- Tyler Flowers did it twice, and he grounded into a double play in his other at-bat.
  • Toronto reliever Luis Perez injured his elbow -- one of those where it looks like surgery is required -- and left the game to "Na Na Hey Hey."
  • Dunn and Paul Konerko went 0-for-8 with four strikeouts in the heart of the order. One of those strikeouts was unearned, as Dunn looked at a pitch that was unhittable off the corner for strike three in the eighth.
  • The next inning, when Hector Santiago failed to get the same strike that Dunn got, Robin Ventura finally had enough. Reyburn ejected him from the dugout, and Ventura exploded out of the dugout for a brief -- but emphatic -- tirade.

Actually, that was one of the better moments of game. Ventura had every right to be irate, and now he's set the bar much higher when it comes to the angriest we've ever seen him.

Reyburn's strike zone was awful -- very generous on the outside corners -- but it didn't help that the back of the rotation and the front of the bullpen couldn't exploit it the same way. The rookies certainly showed their inexperience by issuing nine walks on the day.

Still, it wasn't all bad. This one could have gotten away from the Sox early, but Alex Rios decided to have a day. He launched a three-run homer in the first inning, then drove in a run with the first of two doubles in the fifth. He, Alexei Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis each continued their torrid hitting with three hits apiece. Youkilis brought the tying run to the plate in the eighth by hustling out an infield single, ending with an ugly slide that worked, but could have broken an ankle all the same.

And Hector Santiago, of all people, restored order to the pitching side. He kept the Blue Jays off the board for the final three innings, allowing a hit and two walks while striking out two. Given how far he'd fallen on the depth chart, there's at least one guy who used an ugly day to potentially turn his season around.

If that's not enough, there's this: The White Sox close out the first half leading the AL Central by three games.

Bullet point:

  • Deunte Heath was optioned to Charlotte after the game, with a corresponding move to be made Thursday. This opens up a possible return for Philip Humber.

Record: 47-38 | Box score | Play-by-play