On most days, this recap would document another rough game for the White Sox bullpen. However, if the Sox return to Chicago and Avisail Garcia's shoulder continues to not be as bad as it looked, they'll have escaped Colorado with a small victory.
Garcia injured his shoulder trying to make a diving catch with two outs in the sixth inning. He writhed on the ground for a couple minutes, and left the field holding his left arm against his upper body. That could have meant some kind of severe shoulder injury -- separation, dislocation, fracture -- but so far, the news is on the positive side:
.@AvisailGarcia left the game w/ a jammed left shoulder. Preliminary x-rays were negative for fracture, separation or dislocation.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) April 9, 2014
A sprain could still sideline him for several weeks, but it's better than the alternatives.
Garcia went all out for a reason -- had he come up with the catch on DJ LeMahieu's sinking liner, he would have prevented the tying run from crossing the plate. He came painfully close, with the ball falling out of his glove as he rolled off his shoulder. It didn't count as a catch, the Rockies tied the game at 4 on the double.
From then on, it was a battle of the bullpens, and the Rockies won it handily. Colorado relievers retired the last 13 Sox they faced, whereas after Maikel Cleto threw a fine 1⅓ innings in relief of Erik Johnson, the Sox bullpen kinda went to hell.
Scott Downs started the eighth by throwing a rolling 0-2 slider to Justin Morneau, who shot it back through the middle for the first single of the inning. With Ronald Belisario taking over, the Rockies singled five more times, with the only batter retired on a sacrifice bunt. Belisario then left with lower back tightness, and Jake Petricka came in to give up a two-run double before a pair of groundouts ended the inning.
It was an anticlimactic finish to what had been an encouraging effort through six. Johnson had a Felipe Paulino-like beginning, allowing single runs in the first second and third innings.
The Sox had a couple answers in store. In the second, Tyler Flowers and Adam Eaton delivered RBI sinles to give the Sox a 2-1 lead. Johnson let it slip away by the end of the third, but the Sox spotted him two more when Conor Gillaspie delivered a huge two-out, two-run single after Jose Abreu and Dayan Viciedo couldn't get the run home.
Johnson pitched a 1-2-3 fourth and a scoreless fifth, but Morneau put the pressure on with a leadoff double that Viciedo turned into a triple. Johnson made a valiant effort to strand Morneau, getting a groundout to third and snagging a comebacker for two outs. LeMahieu's sinking liner barely escaped the grasp of Garcia, and it could hurt for a while.
*Tyler Flowers helped out Johnson by throwing out a pair of runners at second base -- one on a steal attempt, another on a pitch in the dirt.
*Robin Ventura stuck with Viciedo in the cleanup spot after the 15-run outburst on Tuesday, even with a righty on the mound. Viciedo didn't reward Ventura's faith, hacking his way into a silver sombrero.
*Garcia had robbed LeMahieu of a single earlier in the game on a nearly identical play.