The White Sox got their revenge on the Rays for Monday’s heartbreaking nail biter loss. In the process, they avoided a historic sweep, and kept their fading Wild Card hopes alive.
Carlos Rodon gave the Sox a credible performance in his first appearance since an ugly loss to the Yankees in his last appearance. After the team gave him a 5-0 lead in the first, highlighted by Avisail Garcia’s three run bomb, he limited the Rays to two runs in each of the third and fifth innings. After successive bullpen failures, Sox fans were understandably apprehensive when he left after 4 2/3 innings. Albers and Putnam each pitched an inning of relief, made it exciting by giving up two hits each, but managed to keep the Rays off the scoreboard. Unfortunately, Zach Duke could not do the same, surrendering the game-tying run on two hits in the eighth inning and earning his second blown save of the season in the process.
After the Sox failed to score in the bottom of the frame, Robertson came in for a non-save situation, and shut down the Rays in the top of the ninth. When the Sox again failed, for the 8th consecutive inning to pad their five run 1st inning, the game moved into extra innings. As Yogi Berra would say, it “looked like deja-vu all over again” as memories of Monday night’s close loss hovered over the ball park.
The bottom of the 10th inning was as unusual an inning as Sox fans will encounter, but it ultimately ended well for the home team. After Robertson pitched a second scoreless inning in the top of the frame, Adam Eaton led off the bottom half of the inning with a single to center field against Rays’ closer Brad Boxberger. He did not stay on first for long. He had second safely stolen when Rays’ catcher Curt Casali sailed a high throw that was inexplicably misplayed by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who missed it and allowed the ball to hit him on the side of the head. Cabrera had to leave the game a few plays later because of dizziness. With both the ball and Cabrera both on the ground, Eaton scampered to third. After Saladino popped out to shallow left field, and with Eaton still on third, the Rays elected to walk Abreu and Cabrera and pitch to first inning hero Avisail Garcia with the bases loaded and one out. After throwing eight intentional balls, Boxberger could not find the strike zone, plating Eaton and allowing Garcia to earn his fourth RBI of the afternoon on a walk-off walk.
The win was important to the Sox on several levels. It avenged the painful loss from Monday night and turned the tables on the Rays, who lost after making a remarkable comeback as Ramirez recovered to keep his team in the game after giving up the five-spot in the first. It also avoided the series sweep, the season series sweep, as well as avoiding being swept in a season’s series of more than six games for the first time ever in White Sox history. It also keeps them from falling further behind in the race for the second AL wild card spot, and provides some positive momentum as the team heads on the road to face the AL best-record Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium this weekend.