Given the White Sox's recent history north of the border, any win is going to be a tough one. The Sox were able to avenge Monday night's loss with a victory by the same score, and credit goes to Robin Ventura for navigating through tough situations. When the decision was up to him, he chose wisely..
Right call No. 1: Batting Dewayne Wise second.
Making his second start with the Sox, Wise and his .299 OBP were an odd choice at the top of the order. Ventura chose to top-load the lineup with lefties against Henderson Alvarez, who struggles against them.
That move paid off in the fifth inning. With runners on the corners and two outs, Alejandro De Aza dropped a single to right to cut the Blue Jays' lead to 2-1, and Wise tied it up with a liner to center on the next pitch.
That moved De Aza to third, and he scored what turned out to be the decisive run on a foolish play by Alvarez. He faked a pickoff to third and threw to first, but his throw sailed high enough that David Cooper couldn't come down with it. The ball bounced only 10 feet away from him, but it was enough for De Aza to break for home and score the third run.
Right call No. 2: Pulling Jose Quintana after 6 2/3 innings.
In the fifth inning, Quintana issued a walk to slap-hitting Mike McCoy to load the bases for Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion absolutely blistered a ball -- right at Kevin Youkilis, who made a leaping snap and fired to second to catch Rajai Davis off the base.
When Encarnacion came to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second in the seventh, Ventura pulled Quintana for Brett Myers, who was able to get Encarnacion to hit a routine fly to center off the end of his bat to end the threat.
This was a pretty easy call, but still, the right one. Quintana allowed single runs in the first and third innings, allowing eight hits and two walks, but it was hard to say he was ever cruising. That said, he improved to 5-2 on the year, even without his best effort.
Right call No. 3: Matt Thornton to Addison Reed in the eighth.
if Brett Myers weren't pitching for the eighth time in 11 games, Ventura probably would have stuck with him to pitch the eighth. Instead, he gave the ball to Matt Thornton, who immediately gave up a leadoff double to Cooper to jeopardize the lead. He came back by getting some weak contact to the right side that resulted in outs.
When John Farrell pinch-hit Yan Gomes for Kelly Johnson, Ventura didn't push his luck with Thornton. Instead, he called on Addison Reed for the righty-righty matchup, and hopefully, after that, a four-out save. Even with pinch-running Anthony Gose stealing third during the at-bat, Reed struck out Gomes on four pitches. He then worked around a one-out Colby Rasmus single to end the game.
None of these moves are game-changing or mind-blowing by themselves, but when you put them together, Ventura did a very nice job of putting his players in positions to succeed throughout the game, and they delivered enough to deliver a win.
- Unlike Albert Pujols in Chicago, Youkilis was able to fend off the first row of hostile fans and make a catch in the crowd behind third base for the final out of the third inning.
- A.J. Pierzynski drew an interference call on a dropped third strike, hitting Moises Sierra with the throw to first, which drew the call from Mark Wegner. Sierra was barely on the wrong side, so it was a bold choice.
- Pierzynski extended his hit streak to 15. He also had a fielder's choice when Yunel Escobar bounced a double play throw into foul territory, but Jeff Mathis made a nice play behind first base to throw out Pierzynski at second.