When Alejandro De Aza delivers walk-off hits, he isn't required to run the bases. Therefore, De Aza should deliver walk-off hits all the time.
He enjoyed his second one in a week tonight, muscling a single over the head of a drawn-in infield with the bases loaded to bring an awful ballgame to a merciful end.
Up until that point, the Sox and Tigers were ramming their heads into the wall with sacrifice bunts. Jeff Keppinger popped out in the bottom of the ninth, no runs.
Don Kelly executed successfully in the top of the 10th. No runs. So did Jose Iglesias in the top of the 11th. Same result -- although that was more because Miguel Cabrera slid into first base for no good reason on what should've been a go-ahead infield single, but still. No runs.
Keppinger got another crack at it in the bottom of the 11th after Avisail Garcia led off with a walk. He got the bunt down this time, but Jeremy Bonderman made an unwise decision to try for second, and Bonderman fired too high, pulling Iglesias off the bag while Garcia slid in safe underneath.
Jordan Danks got to swing away, and his broken-bat grounder to first replicated a bunt. Tyler Flowers drew a walk to load the bases, and after a pitching change and some battery dawdling, De Aza stung Phil Coke to end the game.
Fittingly, the Sox were assisted by a Tigers mistake. From the third inning in on, neither team could score without help from the defense.
The White Sox scored all of their three regulation runs in the fourth inning. Gordon Beckham took a Max Scherzer pitch to the elbow leading off, and Alexei Ramirez walked. Two strikeouts later, Garcia ripped a fastball into the right field corner for a two-run triple ...
... which effectively turned into an inside-the-park homer when Omar Infante threw the ball to an unsuspecting Miguel Cabrera at third. Cabrera didn't get down to block it, and it bounced past him to the tarp. Garcia scored easily on the error, and the White Sox led 3-1.
But the Sox biffed the Tigers back into the game, thanks mostly to Ramirez. With runners on first and second and one out, Matt Lindstrom got Brayan Pena to hit a grounder to Paul Konerko at first. Konerko went to start a 3-6-1 double play, but Ramirez -- perhaps distracted by Infante standing up going into second -- fired low and wide and past a sprawling Lindstrom, which allowed a run to score.
In the eighth, Nate Jones looked like he might've gotten a double-play ball off the bat of Infante. Ramirez ranged to his left, and it looked like his idea was to hit the ground and flip to second in one motion. Instead, the ball skipped over his glove and into center, putting runners on the corners. Pena skidded a grounder past Beckham, and the game was tied.
(Ramirez also committed an error in the top of the 11th by booting a Torii Hunter grounder that could've ended the inning, for a rare three-error game. But he redeemed himself somewhat the very next play, coming all the way across the diamond to get the sliding Cabrera at first for the game-saving 1-6-3 putout.)
Hector Santiago survived a ton of baserunners, allowing just one run over five innings despite six hits and four walks. Good defensive execution, of all things, bailed him out in the third.
The Tigers started the inning with a single and a walk, and a fielder's choice put runners on the corners with one out. Santiago struck out Victor Martinez on a hit-and-run, which Torii Hunter, the runner on third, tried turning into a double-steal when Josh Phegley threw to second.
Beckham anticipated the play by taking the throw well in front of the bag, and then made the rare move by running at Hunter until Hunter forced a throw. Hunter never did, staying put until an unsuccessful evasive maneuver at the last second sealed his fate. Santiago escaped the inning, and his next two frames were much less dramatic, but not much more efficient. He departed one batter into the sixth, having thrown 102 pitches.
- The White Sox are now 7-12 in extra-inning games.
- The Sox held Cabrera to an 0-for-5 night. He did draw one walk.
- Santiago wasn't exactly 100 percent:
Hector Santiago woke up in the wee hours of Tuesday morning with a 102.7-degree temperature and a swollen face.
Less than 24 hours removed from a root canal, the White Sox pitcher wasn’t sure he would make his start against the Detroit Tigers. Even though he spent 20 hours in bed over the last full day and his face remained swollen because of an infection, Santiago pitched anyway.