They locked in a series win with even a pretty sloppy effort this afternoon.
This game needed 11 tense innings for several reasons -- a failure to capitalize with the bases loaded, a David Robertson blown save thanks to some poor defense, random wrong decisions by Chris Guccione, and a homer-robbing catch by Nomar Mazara, among other things.
But in the end, the White Sox were bailed out by Nick Martinez, who loaded the bases with two walks sandwiching an HBP. Jimmy Rollins expanded the zone for some reason and failed to get the run home, grounding out to second. Jose Abreu expanded the zone for some reason, but his grounder sneaked through the left side of a five-man infield for a much-needed walkoff single.
Martinez's line was loss-deserving: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP. It should've been three walks, but Rollins kept stretching the outside corner. Then again, Guccione gave him two pity strikes off the plate to Adam Eaton, so who knows? Even with the assistance, Martinez only threw seven of 21 pitches for strikes.
Matt Albers certainly felt the effects of the strike zone. He issued a leadoff walk in the 11th, then had to work through a super-small zone. He and his scoreless streak survived, as Brett Lawrie snagged a hot shot for a fielder's choice, and Albers snagged a soft liner for the 1-3 double play. He returned to the dugout yelling at Guccione, then screaming at nobody and slapping his own head.
Albers review: No gum spike, but a scream and head slap. pic.twitter.com/YzYyiToSTl— Phenomenal Source (@SouthSideSox) April 23, 2016
At least he got the win.
Carlos Rodon got off the hook. He pitched 6⅔ strong innings, allowing just two runs on two hits and two walks. One of the hits was sizable -- an Ian Desmond solo shot in the second inning. Another big hit, an RBI triple by Elvis Andrus, came off Jake Petricka, but it put the other run on Rodon's tab, and the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the seventh (corrected).
The Sox should've been leading 4-2 or something like that, based on the opportunities they had against Colby Lewis. Austin Jackson twice left the bases loaded, in part because Avisail Garcia also couldn't come through with runners on base. They had a good idea against Lewis (six hits and four walks over six innings), but the lone run they scored came on a Melky Cabrera solo shot that answered Desmond's.
Instead, the Sox had to settle for a comeback against the bullpen.
Todd Frazier started it with a solo blast off Sam Dyson in the eighth inning, tying the game. Cabrera followed with a walk, and two batters later, Garcia made himself useful by getting plunked. Dioner Navarro -- in because Alex Avila exited with a hamstring strain -- shot a single to center to score Cabrera and give the Sox a 3-2 lead.
The fourth run proved harder to come by. Garcia went to third on the single, and the Sox tried getting him home with a squeeze. However, Jackson bunted the ball too hard, and Mitch Moreland pounced and made a good throw from first to cut down the runner.
Then it was the Rangers' turn to play spoiler. David Robertson, exhibiting shaky control, walked Desmond to start the inning. He came back to strike out Moreland, but Desmond took off on strike three and stole second, then took third when Rollins couldn't catch or block Navarro's one-hop throw. A sac fly by Andrus tied the game, and Robertson was most displeased
Also displeased: Frazier, whose bid for a second homer in as many innings was interrupted by Mazara, who made a leaping catch at the track with two outs in the ninth to send the game into extra innings.
If that wasn't frustrating enough, the White Sox caught another bad break to start the inning. Rollins led off with a single, then turned the tables on the Rangers by stealing second and moving to third on an errant throw. But Rollins had to return to first because Guccione said Abreu interfered with the throw, even though he seemed to be standing in the batter's box. This would've been a fun game for Hawk Harrelson, especially with how it ended.
*Along with the big pick in the 11th inning, Lawrie made a better play in the third inning.
Some slick-assed glove work this inning. pic.twitter.com/Y9uTF5F2pO— Phenomenal Source (@SouthSideSox) April 23, 2016
*Cabrera had another impressive game, going 3-for-4 with the homer and a walk.
*Jackson, on the other hand, was 0-for-4 with nine stranded.
*Rollins had a rough go on the basepaths all day. Besides the sketchy interference call, he cost himself a stolen base when he came off the bag on his headfirst slide on an otherwise successful stolen base attempt. He was initially called safe, but a review overturned that.
*Avila might be out for a while:
Alex Avila says he expects he'll go on the DL— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) April 23, 2016