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White Sox 4, Marlins 3 (11 innings): John Danks' return overshadowed by crazy finish

Blown call costs Sox a victory in the 10th, but Jeff Keppinger's single wins it in the 11th

"I'm MC Kepp and I'm here to say / That this victory is courtesy of GOK"
"I'm MC Kepp and I'm here to say / That this victory is courtesy of GOK"
Brian Kersey

I'll tell you what -- in all my years of watching this game, there isn't an announcer better at putting a stamp on blown calls like Hawk Harrelson.

This game should have ended with Alex Rios' walk-off fielder's choice in the 10th inning. With the bases loaded and one out, he hit a weak ground ball to short. With the Marlins' defense at double-play depth, Rios had a chance to beat the turn -- and he would have, had Angel Hernandez seen it correctly. But Hernandez blew the call, sending Hawk Harrelson into apoplexy. He screamed "NO!" repeatedly, and when he could finally find other words, he bellowed, "Another blown call by Angel Hernandez!"

When the broadcast returned, Harrelson wasn't done, telling the first base umpire, "Flip a coin, Angel." It wasn't quite as vitriolic as "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, WEGNER?" but he would save his best sound byte for the bottom of the 11th.

Matt Thornton and Nate Jones combined for a scoreless top of the 11th, and with one out, Paul Konerko singled to left. Tyler Greene pinch-ran for him, and when Dayan Viciedo slashed a single off the second baseman's glove and the ball trickled into right field, Greene rounded second.

And then he started stumbling, causing Harrelson to scream, "DON'T FALL DOWN, TYLER!"

But Greene recovered and sheepishly pulled into third base. Once again, the winning run was 90 feet from home. Once again, an intentional walk loaded the bases to set up the double play. Jeff Keppinger avoided bringing Hernandez's judgment into the play, shooting a single through the drawn-in left side to win it. The delayed White Sox winner was served with a side of Hawk Despairrelson, which almost Hernandez's inadequacy worth it.

The crazy ending made the return of John Danks a footnote, although it's good that his six innings can be easily cast aside. They were unremarkable in the good way.

Danks held them hitless through the first three innings before Placido Polanco broke up the no-hitter with an opposite-field single leading off the fourth. On the next pitch, Derek Dietrich spoiled the shutout by jumping on a plate-splitting, knee-high fastball and lifting it over the wall in right, giving Miami a 2-0 lead.

But Danks settled down to finish six innings without further drama. He allowed just four hits and a hit batsman over six innings, with no walks to his five strikeouts. He threw 56 of his 76 pitches for strikes. His changeup looked like an out pitch, as he used it for the third strike in four of his K's, and he was able to get his cutter in on righties.

He even received his customary lack of run support, as the offense took its time getting to Miami starter Tom Koehler. After managing just one hit over the first four innings, they finally put together a rally in the fifth. Konerko singled to lead off, was replaced by Viciedo on a fielder's choice. He moved to third on Conor Gillaspie's double, and came home on Keppinger's groundout to cut the lead to 2-1. Hector Gimenez then came through with a single to tie it.

The two-out magic wasn't over. One inning later, Konerko cashed in Rios by dropping a single into shallow left center, giving the Sox a 3-2 lead.

Danks started the seventh, but he lasted only one batter. Marcelll Ozuna drilled the second pitch to left for leadoff double, and Danks was done. Matt Lindstrom entered, and he couldn't strand the runner, but he was lucky to limit the scoring to that. He gave up a single to Justin Ruggiano (after Ruggiano intended to bunt but failed twice), putting runners on the corners.

Lindstrom walked Chris Coghlan to load the bases, and Miguel Olivo brought in the tying run with a sac fly to right. Nick Greene reloaded the bases with a weak single to right, but Lindstrom escaped the inning by getting Jeff Mathis to ground into 6-4-3 double play.

Outside of Lindstrom's early stumbles, the bullpen was terrific. Jesse Crain threw a scoreless eighth, Addison Reed threw a perfect ninth, and Matt Thornton worked around a walk and an HBP to get the game to Jones, who recorded the last two outs and finished in line for his first win of the year.

Bullet points:

  • Rios extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a single through the left side.
  • Hector Gimenez committed his first error of the year when one of his throws bounced into center fielder, but it didn't cause any harm.
  • The Sox turned three double plays on the night.
  • Konerko pounded out three singles.
  • The White Sox lowered their average of runs scored in victories to 4.27 runs per win.

Record: 22-24 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights