A streak came to an end, but it wasn’t the win streak. The Sox failed to hit a homerun for the first time in 15 games, but the win streak stays alive at 8, despite an early exit from starter Jose Quintana and Manager Robin Ventura. All the Sox runs came early and it was up to the bullpen to protect the lead through the back half of the game. That job got done, and another sweep was achieved.
White Sox: 4
Quintana was looking good through the first 3+ innings. He sat the Rays down in order in the 1st and 3rd innings, and the only blip in the 2nd was a HR by the man with hockey sticks painted on his face. In the 4th, as Quintana worked with 2 outs he lost control of a ball that travelled behind batter Ben Zobrist. Umpire Mark Wegner didn’t seem to think it was any accident and promptly threw the young Quintana out of the game. Robin Ventura, as baffled by the ejection as I was, made his way out and the only result was his being shown the exit as well. It’s Robin’s first ejection as manager and fell pretty far on the calm side of the ejection emotion spectrum.
What made Wegner so quick with the trigger? Well in the 1st Rays starter Alex Cobb hit Gordon Beckham with a pitch and then in the 3rd A.J. Pierzynski was victimized, taking one a little high off the back for my liking. Wegner did not issue warnings at any point, and Quintana did not hit anybody with a pitch, nor do I think he intended to. Either way, it was an odd call, a call I would call incorrect though so many pieces of an umpire’s job are rooted in their own discretion. Unsurprisingly, Hawk Harrelson went absolutely ape. Insisting that Wegner knows nothing of the game of baseball is a bit over the top, and those accusations continued for far longer than the video clip goes on. Oh, Hawk.
Let’s not lose track of the game’s positive occurrences! The Sox offense was live from the start, though it may not have been if the Rays had their regular 3rd baseman, superstar Evan Longoria. The first 3 White Sox hits were either rolled or ripped to the general vicinity of 3rd base. It seemed entirely possible that each of them could have been corralled by Longoria had he been in the game. He wasn’t though, and despite the Sox multiple baserunners, including a bases loaded nobody out threat in the 2nd inning, they entered the 3rd with only a single run. Alex Rios was swinging a good bat today, and he got the team going again in the 3rd by ripping a double into left field. AJ’s HBP would put him on first, he’d go to third while Alex Rios scored on a single by Viciedo. Alexei would pop out, but just deep enough for AJ to come home putting the Sox up 3-1 at the time. The score would get pushed to 4 after back to back Cuban doubles in the 5th inning. That would be enough.
Nate Jones came in to replace Quintana and pitched 2 innings but let Carlos Pena get a hold of one, this bomb of the 2 run variety and at that point the Sox held on to just a 1 run lead. That lead remained for Thornton to throw a scoreless inning and for Crain to go scoreless over 1.1. The 9th inning is for closers. That’s what they do. Addison Reed entered, made it a little interesting, but kept it scoreless for a White Sox winner. A White Sox sweep. Maybe Tom Paciorek should be in the booth more often!
Plus: Perserverence. It would have been really easy to sulk after the ejections, let the game get away and blame the umpiring. The Sox hung in and have been rewarded with an extra game lead in the standings. You have to really appreciate the off day before the next series with the Mariners begins. The bullpen innings that had to be used as a result of Quintana’s ejection won’t bother the team in the next game.
Minus: Just to stick with the umpiring theme. I hate having to look at a game and feel like the umpire has too much control. When it comes to matters of batters getting hit, the Sox seem to always get the short end. I’m not calling for retaliation, but to face the consequences because it’s decided that we are in a position to retaliate, whether we do or not, is infuriating. This is not Minority Report.