The White Sox offense put together the kind of ninth-inning rally that they turned into an ad campaign. The White Sox bullpen showed that such rallies are better when they happen at home.
The Sox foiled a Glen Perkins save attempt with a two-run ninth, but an inning-ending double play kept the game tied, and Daniel Webb's control problems set up the Twins' response. Ronald Belisario entered the game to face Brian Dozier with two outs, but Dozier's single to left gave the Twins their happy ending instead.
If you're cool with moral victories, this game had a couple. The Sox appeared destined to sleepwalk to another 4-2 loss when Perkins entered the game in the ninth, but with one out, Dayan Viciedo picked the correct outfield to hit a deep line drive toward. The defensively challenged Josh Willingham got back to the track, but he couldn't get his glove up in time, and it glanced off his glove for a triple. Paul Konerko (pinch-hitting for Alejandro De Aza) singled to center to make it a one-run game, and as Moises Sierra pinch-ran for him, the Sox kept the line moving.
Tyler Flowers followed with a single to center, and Leury Garcia pinch-ran for the catcher. That looked like it came in handy when Adam Eaton slapped a double down the left field line to send Perkins under his desk. A slower runner might've had to pull up at second, but Garcia advanced to third, with Eaton trailing him to second.
If the faster runner did make a difference, though, it might've inadvertently played into the Twins' hands. The open base encouraged Ron Gardenhire to walk Gordon Beckham to bring Conor Gillaspie to the plate. With nobody left on the bench besides Adrian Nieto, Gillaspie had to hit against a lefty. Sure enough, he rolled the first pitch to the right side, and the Twins managed to turn a 4-6-3 double play by half a step to escape the jam.
With the game tied, Robin Ventura rode with Webb for another inning after he threw a 1-2-3 eighth ... albeit on 19 pitches. He picked up where he left off when Oswaldo Arcia flied out to left. But then Webb's control issues surfaced quickly. He walked Eduardo Escobar on five pitches, and did the same to Sam Fuld, and suddenly the Sox were in a jam.
Ventura went to his bullpen to flip Danny Santana around, and Santana lined out to left for the second out. With the righty Dozier coming to the plate, in came Belisario, who hoped to leave Joe Mauer on deck. He kinda did that ... but only because Dozier shot a single to left to drive home Escobar. Viciedo made it close with a fine throw, and Flowers blocked one of Escobar's hands, but Escobar brushed the plate with his right before his momentum carried him past it. Ventura came out to challenge as the Twins celebrated because, you know, why not? But the call was correct from the first replay, and the Twins' festivities could continue.
One could criticize Ventura for leaving Webb in there to start the ninth. Webb hasn't been able to deliver 1-2-3 innings, so Ventura probably should've quit while he was ahead and brought in Belisario. On the other hand, in a talent-evaluation season, testing Webb in a situation outside of his pay grade isn't a terrible idea, especially since the best-case scenario has a one-inning reliever trying to throw two scoreless innings regardless.
The game had started with so much promise, and Beckham and Jose Abreu both turned on Ricky Nolasco's 89-mph, inner-half fastballs for solo shots to first. Hector Noesi needed more support though -- his control eluded him during a three-run second, and the Twins tacked on a run in the third to give Minnesota a 4-2 lead.
Noesi settled down to hold the Twins scoreless from the fourth through the seventh, but Nolasco had already found his groove.The Sox couldn't get another runner into scoring position until the sixth, when a Gillaspie single and Adam Dunn walk gave the Sox a couple cracks to narrow the gap. Gardenhire summoned Matt Guerrier, and he induced a couple of harmless flyouts from Alexei Ramirez and Viciedo to end that threat.
Noesi finished with a respectable line -- two runs on six hits and two walks over seven innings, striking out four -- and you'd think that would enough with Nolasco carrying a 5.66 ERA into the game. Alas.
*It wasn't Gillaspie's best day, despite the fact that he went 2-for-5. Besides the inning-ending double play in the ninth, he was thrown out by Kurt Suzuki on a "stolen base attempt." Really, he made a late break on a ball that Suzuki blocked and kept in front of him, forcing Abreu (who would've had a full count on him) to lead off the fourth.
*Speaking of Suzuki, he went 3-for-4 with a two-out RBI single.