A close game was expected, and a close game was achieved. At least it seemed much closer than the score would indicate though it wasn’t the duel the names in the pitching matchup predicted. Both sides offered defensive gaffes that opened doors for the opposition to claim victory but ultimately, a pop fly off the face of Michael Saunders would usher the Sox to their 9th straight victory.
Mariners (23-31): 4
White Sox (30-22): 7
Jake Peavy started the game on cruise control and Gordon Beckham sat shotgun in what seemed like an easy victory. After Alejandro De Aza lead off the game with a hit-by-pitch Beckham squeaked a shot over the left field wall to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. Gordo wasn’t done; in the 5th he would launch a solo shot, yes his second of the game, setting up a back-to-back opportunity for Adam Dunn that would not be missed.
Kyle Seager cut the Sox lead in half in the top half of the 7th with a 2 run HR and after a Justin Smoak walk, Peavy would exit the game in favor of Matt Thornton. The first batter Thornton faced, Mike Carp sent a pop fly to deep short that Alexei Ramirez seemingly had handled when he let it fall to grant the tying run first base. Thornton kept his focus, though, and escaped the inning without any further damage.
The M’s added a pair in the 8th to tie the game with a barrage of singles off of the combination of Thornton and Crain. Giving up the lead late, in the mind of Sox fans, often spells doom. It may have even meant doom on this cool June evening if it wasn’t for Michael Saunders. Saunders tracked a fly ball to center field by Paul Konerko for a sure out when he lost it briefly between where it should have landed in his glove and where it smacked him in the face. With Lillibridge on second as a pinch runner following the error, Alex Rios grounded out to move him along. An intentional pass to A.J. Pierzynski followed and Alexei would hit an infield single to short to plate the winning run. Alejandro De Aza would send two insurance runs home with a single to bring the final Sox tally to 7.
Plus: Gordo! I was literally in the midst of a conversation about how great it would be for Gordon Beckham to continue to build on the progress he’s made in the last handful of games when he sent his first homer of the game over the fence. You may have not been there for the conversation, but I’ll spare you as I’m sure you understand the significance of Beckham coming through. Gordon Beckham: the last piece of the 2011 underachiever triumvirate.
Minus: A pitcher’s duel it was not. But Peavy did pitch well with a final line of 6.1 innings, 2 runs and 3 hits. Hard to place a guy in the minus column for putting up a line like that but expectation is a funny thing.