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Angels 7, White Sox 6 (11 innings): Was this baseball?

An ordinary game deteriorates into random collisions after eight innings

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels
This was a two-run single.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Up until the ninth inning, there was nothing remarkable about this game.

Then Todd Frazier tied it up by literally throwing his bat at the ball for a game-tying two-run infield single. That’ll wake you up in the ninth inning of a West Coast start time.

And then the Sox stranded the go-ahead run at third because Rick Renteria went down a safety-squeeze rabbit hole, which could’ve kept you up.

And then Tim Anderson hit a go-ahead homer in the top of the 11th, which might’ve fired you up.

And then David Robertson’s second inning of work was spoiled by weak contact and defensive lapses, and now you might want to throw up.

But first, let’s go back to the ninth inning, because its end was as disheartening as its opening was enthralling. It started with a pair of singles by Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu, followed by a wall-scraping drive to right by Avisail Garcia that almost tied the game. Only Cabrera scored on it since the runners had to hold, but Frazier accomplished that end when he lost control of his bat on a slider away, resulting in this:

Somehow that tied the game, and Frazier took second on the play. That gave the Sox three outs to get the run home.

Unfortunately, the Sox used two of them on bunts, and only one accomplished the job.

Tim Anderson bunted pinch-running Willy Garcia to third, which is an OK play if you trust any of the guys behind him to swing the bat. Omar Narvaez showed bunt a few times during a walk, which looked like it might’ve been gamesmanship. That cover was blown when Tyler Saladino tried to squeeze Garcia home on a bunt back to the pitcher, and Yusmeiro Petit flipped home for the easy out. Leury Garcia then grounded out to end the inning.

The White Sox were retired in order in the 10th, and looked set for the same course in the 11th before Anderson got just enough of a first-pitch curveball to get it feet over the fence in left.

That put Robertson in position to get the win, and the loss wasn’t his fault. He gave up a single to Simmons to start the inning, which moved to second when Omar Narvaez was screened by a bunt attempt for a passed ball. However, Robertson defused that particular threat by cutting down Simmons at third base on a great throw and a better tag by Saladino.

Alas, Ben Revere’s blooper dropped just over the head of Yolmer Sanchez in center field. And when Cameron Maybin hit a fly off the end of the bat to left, Melky Cabrera got a late jump, then fell down, and Anderson couldn’t range far enough into left field to make an over-the-shoulder grab. The tying run scored, and after an intentional walk to Mike Trout loaded the bases, Albert Pujols hit a game-winning fly to deep center that caromed off Leury Garcia’s face.

Since it would’ve resulted in a sac fly anyway, he was better off just giving it a look. Yet it provided a fitting capper for a baffling final three innings that provided three times as much to talk about as the first eight innings.

Derek Holland pitched gamely without his best stuff. He had two 1-2-3 innings, and dealt with threatening traffic in the others. He sidestepped an immediate threat in the first, but Pujols capitalized with a two-run single in the third. Holland’s inability to retire Maybin resulted in an RBI single in the fourth, and the Angels had a 3-0 lead.

On the other side, J.C. Ramirez went right at White Sox hitters, who made the mistake of directing most of their hard contact to Simmons. The rare exception was a two-run blast to right by Sanchez that made it a one-run game. That was the only damage the Angels’ starter absorbed, as he allowed just five hits over seven innings. He also only struck out two, so he only needed to throw 85 pitches.

The Angels also added a pair in the eighth. Gregory Infante’s second appearance didn’t go nearly as well as the first, as he loaded the bases after one out on a double and a pair of walks. In came Dan Jennings, who promptly walked in a run on a sequence that resulted in Don Cooper getting ejected by Tripp Gibson for good reason:

Jennings rebounded after the delay to get a popout from Kole Calhoun, but Rick Renteria called on Chris Beck to face Jefry Marte, and Marte dumped a single to center. Pujols was sent home, fortunately, and Leury Garcia’s throw had him out by 20 feet.

Beck came out to throw a 1-2-3 eighth, and Tommy Kahnle, suddenly needed in the ninth, pitched a perfect inning himself.

Record: 17-20 | Box score | Play-by-play