Heading into the eighth inning with a 7-3 lead, the White Sox were in pretty good position to head into the back end of a doubleheader with their bullpen largely intact.
Then Zach Duke let the first two reach, and Matt Albers gave up a homer to cut the lead to one, and Nate Jones and David Robertson had to grind out the last four outs to take the first game.
But at least they took the first game, which was far from a given with Mat Latos pitching. Maybe the pitching staff just wanted to use all of a seven-run outburst.
Latos wasn't really the problem, even though he gave up two leads by allowing two homers. When Todd Frazier hit a solo shot in the first, Mike Napoli answered one in the second. Likewise, Marlon Byrd's two-run shot in the top of the fifth erased the gains from manufactured runs in the third and fourth innings.
Having lost a one-run and a two-run lead, Brett Lawrie decided to up the ante. After Jose Abreu popped out with runners on first and second for the second out of the fifth, Lawrie jumped on a full-count fastball and hit a no-doubter to left to give the Sox a 6-3 lead. Latos answered with a shutdown inning and ended up running his record to 6-1 as a result, although it wasn't that easy.
The Sox missed out on a chance to tack on a run in the sixth. For some reason, Adam Eaton bunted runners on first and second over instead of swinging away, and neither Jimmy Rollins (strikeout) nor Todd Frazier (flyout) could cash in the run.
Luckily for the Sox, the Indians were in a giving mood. In the seventh, Melky Cabrera made it to second after Rajai Davis dropped a flyball to center, and Jose Abreu reached on another error when Jason Kipnis booted his grounder up the middle in an attempt to keep it from hitting second base. Brett Lawrie drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out, but Carlos Sanchez's rope to right turned into a 9-2 double play based on a questionable send and a great throw by Michael Martinez.
Somehow, the Sox still scored a run without a hit. Dan Otero walked Dioner Navarro to reload the bases, after which Terry Francona called on Austin Adams to face Austin Jackson. The battle of Austins turned into the Election of 1828, because Jackson beat Adams in a walk that brought home the all-important seventh run.
Robin Ventura tried to get (most of) a second inning out of Duke, but that dream died with a walk and a hustle double. Albers came in to try to limit the damage, and he was on the cusp of achieving that goal with a soft lineout and a groundout, which scored one run. But then Albers locked horns with Jose Ramirez in a prolonged at-bat, and Albers blinked. On the 10th pitch, Albers grooved a sinker, and Ramirez socked it out to right to make it a 7-6 game.
That pitch necessitated an appearance by Nate Jones, who ended the eighth on a strikeout, and then David Robertson for the ninth. Robertson added to the tension by walking Davis to start the inning, and he stole second on a strikeout. But Robertson didn't let him advance any further, striking out Martinez and getting Carlos Santana to ground out for the save.
*Jackson had a huge day in the ninth spot, going 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI single on a two-part swing/excuse-me blooper to right for one RBI, and the walk for another.
*Lawrie was perfect as well, going 2-for-2 with the homer, three walks and a stolen base.
*Frazier was one notch below them, going 2-for-3 with the homer, two walks, and an unwatched stolen base.
*Jose Abreu was a mixed bag. He went 1-for-5 with a lineout and a well-struck single, but he preceded Lawries's homer by popping out on a 2-0 pitch on a fastball in off the plate.
*Mat Latos: 6 IP 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR. That'll do in this kind of game.