For the first time in 25 home games, the White Sox finally scored more than four runs at U.S. Cellular Field.
They actually overachieved and scored seven, which was good, since they needed all of them.
Leading off the bottom of the 11th, Adam Eaton turned on Roberto Osuna's 1-0 pitch and cranked it over the Toronto bullpen in right for the walk-off homer. It's a little disconcerting that Eaton is one of the White Sox' top power threats, but now's neither the time nor the place to wring hands over that.
Eaton was in a position to win it thanks to Alexei Ramirez's effort in the top of that inning. He made a brilliant backhand stab on a wicked, hard-hit hop to catch Ryan Goins between second and third. Ramirez flipped to Gordon Beckham, who successfully chased Goins back to second and flipped to Carlos Sanchez for the tag. Second base umpire Sam Holbrook thought Sanchez whiffed on the tag, but Robin Ventura came out, and a replay showed that Sanchez clearly applied the tag on Goins' buttocks.
Had Ramirez not been able to glove it, Goins would've been goin' home for the Toronto lead. Instead, Zach Putnam merely had to deal with a runner on first and two outs, and a grounder to short ended the inning.
Putnam completed the last three outs and picked up the win to cap off a tremendous night for the bullpen. John Danks went back to numbering his days with an ugly start (six runs over 4⅓ innings), but Scott Carroll stranded his inherited runner, then posted zeroes in the sixth and seven innings. Zach Duke, assisted by some excellent Tyler Flowers framing, pitched two scoreless innings himself. David Robertson dominated the 10th, and Putnam finished it off.
All in all for the relief corps: 6⅔ innings, two hits, four walks, seven strikeouts, and zero runs. That effort helped turn what had the makings of a disappointing night into a hard-fought victory.
The Sox actually jumped out to a 3-0 first-inning lead against Drew Hutchinson, who threw a 96-pitch Maddux against them earlier this year. Melky Cabrera put the Sox on the board with a sac fly, and Adam LaRoche lined a double into the right-field corner to score two more.
But Danks gave away that cushion in the third inning by giving up five straight hits to start it. Of course Josh Donaldson was involved, as his double to left center drove in a run to tie the game. A sac fly put the Blue Jays ahead by the time the smoke cleared.
Avisail Garcia tied the game with a soft single to center in the bottom of the inning, but an ugly effort in right field returned the lead to Toronto. With one out and a runner on second, Donaldson skied a high fly to right field. Garcia took a bad angle to the wall, then tried to backpedal against the fence to correct himself, and ... he was lucky the ball didn't him between the numbers on his back. That scored Devon Travis to make it a 5-4 game, and Jose Bautista scored Donaldson to give the Jays a 6-4 lead and send Danks to the dugout.
That forced the Sox to confront their fear of five runs. In the fifth. Eaton was hit by a pitch and moved to second on Melky Cabrera's single two batters later. Garcia followed by just missing the chalk on a drive down the right-field line, then compounded the pain by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play.
They figured it out in the sixth, though. LaRoche singled through the right side, and Ramirez singled in the same direction. After Beckham popped out and Flowers struck out, Sanchez picked them up with a single to left to score LaRoche. Ramirez and Sanchez each moved up on the throw home, and 90 feet proved crucial when Eaton hit a chopper to short and beat Jose Reyes' throw to first for the game-tying infield single.
So Eaton had both the game-tying and game-winning hits, and the Sox are 8-2 in extra innings. Their record isn't for a lack of effort. It's a lack of a lot of other things, but not effort.
*Take Garcia's night, for instance. He went 4-for-5 with a run and an RBI, and he also pulled a double to left. But he grounded into a double play, took that awful route in right field, and was thrown out in the 10th by 10 feet trying to stretch a one-out single to right into a double. He thought he slid under Reyes' tag and called for Ventura to challenge, but replay showed otherwise.
Robin didn't even want to go out there and talk to the ump. He knew Gracia was out and is clearly not happy with him.
— Chris Rongey (@ChrisRongey) July 9, 2015
*Or Flowers. He was thrown out trying to steal, but he also completed a SHOTHO to end the seventh, framed a couple strikeouts in the eighth, then led off the bottom of that inning with a single.
*Beckham started against a righty and went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. He's now hiting .199.