The easiest way to erase the sting of David Robertson's first blown save? Beat Aroldis Chapman for a walk-off winner.
Gordon Beckham's flare to right center did the job. He followed up two-out singles by Avisail Garcia and Alexei Ramirez with one of his own, muscling a 100-mph 2-2 fastball into the triangle behind second base to give the White Sox five series victories in five tries at U.S. Cellular Field.
Victory should have come easier, on a number of levels.
Robertson entered with a two-run lead, then gave up three straight hits himself. Devin Mesoraco and Brayan Pena singled, and after a passed ball through Geovany Soto's wickets, Zach Cosart drove them both in to tie the game, and keep a runner in scoring position with nobody out. Robertson found his stuff, striking out a bunting Billy Hamilton and Marlon Byrd before getting Joey Votto to ground out, keeping the game knotted at 3.
But there probably shouldn't have been a save situation. John Danks handily outpitched his counterpart, Michael Lorenzen ...
- Danks: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
- Lorenzen: 5 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K
... but the Sox offense couldn't capitalize on their biggest opportunities. Emilio Bonifacio opened the scoring in the second with a two-out RBI single, but Melky Cabrera lined out to left to end the inning. That was the start of a 1-for-13 stretch with runners in scoring position, during which the lone hit was a Bonifacio bunt single that loaded the bases in the fourth inning with nobody out.
That inning ended two batters later when Cabrera's rocket found Todd Frazier's glove at third, and Jose Abreu had a bad at-bat that resulted in a 3-6-1 double play. They finally regained the lead in the seventh by scoring a run without a hit (two walks, two productive flyouts, the latter a Ramirez sac fly), and tacked on another with an RBI groundout by Bonifacio in the eighth.
That should have been enough for Danks, but he doesn't know how to win. It looked like he might when he held the Reds to just one run over seven innings, even though he probably should have only pitched six. He started the frame with 101 pitches, and ended up finishing it with 17 more, working around a two-out single.
Moreover, the lone Reds run that scored on his watch might have been more attributable to J.B. Shuck. With two outs and a runner on first, Devin Mesoraco hit a deep fly to center field. Shuck didn't have a good line on it from the beginning, but he started looking over his left shoulder, and he tried to keep that angle. He got back to the track and jumped ... only to hear it hitting off the wall a few feet behind him. It wasn't an easy play, but I've seen more difficult ones.
*Shuck did have a nice day at the bottom of the order, going 1-for-2 with a useful sac bunt and stolen base.
*Bonifacio had his best day yet, going 2-for-4 with a walk and his first two RBIs of the season.
*Tyler Flowers reached base in all four plate appearances (two singles, two walks), and threw out Zack Cosart at second. That's just the third time the Reds have been foiled in 40 attempts this year.
*Flowers was replaced by Micah Johnson after his second walk in the eighth inning, and the decision paid off when he scored on a grounder to a drawn-in Brandon Phillips.
*Adam LaRoche also reached base three times. The Sox stranded 11 runners during a 2-for-15 day.