Paul Konerko's wheels gave the Sox a 1-0 lead. His power tied it up at 2. His patience helped put the go-ahead runner into scoring position, and his speed gave the White Sox the cushion they needed.
That's weird enough. It gets weirder when realizing Dayan Viciedo delivered the biggest hit of the game off a power righty, but with the end of what is now a 2-6 road trip in sight, the Sox will take wins however they can get them.
The Sox scored a pair of runs in the ninth off Steve Delabar, who had struck out four Sox in an inning last year. His control issues set it up, as he walked Adam Dunn and Konerko (although Konerko got a borderline call in his favor for ball four) to start the inning.
Robin Ventura didn't give Conor Gillaspie the bunt sign, which was smart. But Delabar threw him a fastball and two nice changeups, getting Gillaspie to foul-whiff-whiff for a quick strikeout. That brought Viciedo to the plate, and Delabar got ahead 1-2 to strengthen the dark cloud hanging over the inning.
But Viciedo took a fastball away, then laid off a low, outer-half changeup to load the count. When Delabar came back with an OK slider, Viciedo extended and sent a backspin-laden drive into left center. It looked catchable off the bat, but it carried right past Emilio Bonifiacio and all the way to the wall to give the Sox a 3-2 lead.
An intentional walk loaded the bases with one out, and John Gibbons went to Darren Oliver to face Hector Gimenez. Gimenez got a first pitch up, and he sent a fly into medium right field. Rajai Davis made the catch, but he wasn't in good position to throw home. Konerko tested him, and Davis' awkward throw was off the line. By the time Arencibia could catch it and dive toward home plate, Konerko was sliding across it for a 4-2 lead.
Addison Reed made the insurance run matter. He gave up back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, but three flyouts later, the Sox escaped with another narrow victory.
The game had the makings of another typical Sox loss. Facing Josh Johnson and his 11.05 ERA, the only run the Sox could scrape across came courtesy of the Wild Pitch Offense, when Konerko scampered home to give the Sox a 1-0 lead in the second. Johnson settled down, eventually retiring 10 in a row to get through six innings.
But starting the seventh, he fell behind Konerko 3-0, then tried to get back in the count with a fat fastball. Konerko made him pay, getting the green light and launching a ball over the left-field wall to tie the game at 2. Johnson completed seven, but all he had to show for it was a no-decision against Dylan Axelrod.
Axelrod pitched well. He didn't make many mistakes; unfortunately, the Blue Jays hit two of them out. Colby Rasmus jumped on a misplaced 1-2 fastball for a solo shot that tied the game at 1 after two innings. Then, as Axelrod was trying to get through six innings, he left a fastball up and on the outer half for J.P. Arencibia, who hit his second opposite-field homer of the series to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead.
Otherwise, he showed excellent command with all his pitches. He blew a couple fastballs up and in past Bonifacio, and froze Brett Lawrie with a perfect slider on the outside corner. He allowed seven hits over his six innings, but walked just one batter.
He's still in search of the first win, thanks to the late-arriving offense. That honor instead went to Matt Lindstrom, who faced just one batter to end the eighth and Hector Santiago retired all five batters he faced.
- Alexei Ramirez made a couple of sensational plays, ranging left for a glove-flip force at second, and making this diving catch on a Lawrie liner to end the fourth inning.
Jeff Keppinger had a rougher time. He should have turned that glove flip into a 6-4-3 double play, but his throw was wide. He also got caught in between a broken-bat flare to second that could have caught a runner in between, settling for a force at second instead.