There's some poetry in seeing Geovany Soto's bid to end the game in the 12th inning hit the wall, while Lorenzo Cain's 13th-inning fly cleared the fence by plenty.
The White Sox aren't as bad as they've looked at times this season. They're just short in a few areas, and power is chief among them. They weren't supposed to struggle this much with the long ball, while the lack of on-base skills was more apparent.
They're also short on ideas. In this case, they lost a 13-inning game without David Robertson ever appearing in it. Dan Jennings went above and beyond to get the game to the 13th, retiring the last two batters of the 10th, then posting zeroes in the 11th and 12th innings.
Robertson would have been the better call starting in the 10th, but one could understand Ventura's reluctance to use up his last reliever that early. They only had six relievers today, then Jose Quintana only lasted 5⅓ innings, and Jake Petricka failed to retire any of the three batters he faced to start the eighth inning, which exacerbated the issue.
But after Jennings somehow pitched around his own error in the 11th, that's when it became time to quit while ahead. And then after Jennings came back with a 1-2-3 12th, that should have been enough. Instead, Jennings started the 13th -- and facing their best hitter -- and it went about as well as it deserved to go.
@jazayerli (Things that everyone was saying about Ned Yost 13 months ago)— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) July 18, 2015
Adam Eaton did reach with a leadoff single off Ryan Madson to start the 13th, but Tyler Saladino struck out, and Melky Cabrera lined out to third, catching Eaton far off first base. If it wasn't a hit-and-run, then the Sox are short on baserunning, too.
Ventura had also chosen a questionable road earlier in the game. After Petricka gave up a single, walk and a single to load the bases, Ventura lifted Petricka for Zach Duke. Duke gave up a sac fly to Mike Moustakas, and the other runners advanced 90 feet to leave first base open.
Then Ventura called for the intentional walk to Cain -- making it even stranger that Jennings faced him in the 13th -- and while Duke struck out Hosmer for the second out, a walk to Kendrys Morales forced the run home. It's hard to blame that second run on Ventura, because Petricka put everybody in a bad spot, but it's incongruous with how cavalier Ventura was in the 13th, if nothing else.
That extra run meant the Sox' two-run rally in the ninth inning off Greg Holland was merely shocking, rather than triumphant. Holland was on the way to nailing down an easy save when Adam LaRoche hit a two-out single to right. Alexei Ramirez drew a walk to keep the game alive, and J.B. Shuck delivered another clutch blow by hitting a double over the head of Jarrod Dyson in left to bring both runners home and tie the game at 6.
Shuck was starting for Avisail Garcia, who then entered to hit for Tyler Flowers. Garcia made good contact, but it ended up in a hard one-hopper to Omar Infante for the inning-ending 4-3. The Sox offense couldn't get a seventh run home, although Soto came the closet, making good contact on a Brandon Finnegan fastball -- so good, he thought he hit it out. Instead it hit off the wall in left center, and Soto had to hustle for a double. Carlos Sanchez then bounced into a more routine 4-3 for the third out.
The Sox actually dinged up two of the three vaunted Kansas City relievers. In the seventh, Ramirez hit a homer(!) to opposite field (!!) off Kelvin Herrrera(!!!). It was one that barely cleared the wall, and if only Alex Rios were more familiar with right field at The Cell, perhaps he wouldn't have gotten jammed up against the fence on his attempt to rob it.
That tied the game at 4, which took Jose Quintana off the hook. His start was much like his outing against the Cubs, with the opponent jumping on him early. The first three Royals reached, and the first three Royals scored to put the Sox in a quick 3-0 hole.
Yet they scratched and clawed their way back into it against Jeremy Guthrie. It started with a two-out rally, as Adam Eaton drew a two-out walk, moved to third on Saladino's single to right (thanks to an Alex Rios fumble), and scored on Cabrera's RBI single. Jose Abreu kept the inning alive by taking a fastball off the forearm, but LaRoche struck out looking to end the inning.
They found another run in the fourt, as Sanchez and Eaton strung together two-out singles to score Shuck, cutting the lead to 3-2. A Ramirez sac fly in the fifth knotted the score at 3 for the first of three ties on the day.