Mar 23, 2012; Tucson, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Axelrod (39) pitches during the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Kino Veterans Memorial. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

White Sox mutilate the sport for nearly six hours, then snap eight-game skid

The White Sox losing streak is over , in fact, I can’t say I particularly remember it at all.

In between their eight run-starved defeat in a row and Wednesday afternoon’s 7-5 victory in Seattle to end a miserable road trip, the White Sox parked 16 innings, the first 13 of which went scoreless, a blown five-run lead on a two-out grand slam, 55 pitches from Addison Reed and nearly six hours of ugly, sun-drenched absurdity.

Alejandro De Aza’s eighth plate appearance of the day ended with a liner dropping in front of Michael Saunders in center, bringing home a scrambling and sliding Gordon Beckham to break a 5-5 tie in the 16th. There was no joy in Beckham’s game-deciding score, just exhaustion and some hope that this act would signal the end of the torture.

His hopes were realized.

Alex Rios added an insurance run on an infield single and an exhausted Reed found his slider–certainly not his fastball after warming so many times–to strike out the side in his third inning of work.

This was of course, the second of two bizarre endings this game generated.

The White Sox offense broke through for five runs–which seemed like plenty–in the top of the 14th against a combination of Danny Farquhar and Hector Noesi. A leadoff walk to De Aza and a grounder pushed through the hole on the right side of the infield by Alexei Ramirez brought up the one guy in the lineup the Mariners had to avoid in an RBI situsation–Alex Rios.

After a hard Rios single to the gap, the flood gates opened up for a five-run White Sox half of the 14th inning, offering up an easy non-save situation for Addison Reed.

At which point, Reed pitched over a single by Michael Saunders to lock down a–er…

At which point, Reed pitched over back-to-back singles by Saunders and Kelly Shoppach to–er…

At which point, Reed pitched out of a bases loaded situation to give the Sox–er…

At which point, Reed got dinged for a run by gave the Sox–er…

At which point, Reed coughed it up on a two-out grand slam to Kyle Seager.

Hard to hold it against the man too much, since in the hysteria of 13 scoreless innings and nonsensical closer avoidance, Reed threw scores of warm-up pitches and in the wake of the entire pitching staff being exhausted, he had to throw the rest of the game and close the damn thing out himself.

Before the game took off and flew into the hell dimension, 13 innings of offensive of baserunning ineptitude was the story. While the White Sox had nothing going at all, the Mariners’ failure to punch through seemed less likely to hold up. 

With Dylan Axelrod going hog-wild–he walked five and allowed 11 baserunners through 5.1 innings–the Mariners had to get creative to keep the goose eggs plentiful and the fans lifeless. To counter Hisashi Iwakuma’s brutal efficiency in shutting the Sox out over eight innings (99 pitches), the Mariners became efficient in slaughtering their own baserunners.

  • Kendry Morales grounded into a garden-variety inning-ending double play in the first inning.
  • In the third, Brendan Ryan got faked into rounding second base by Alexei Ramirez on a routine fly ball to center. Even a blase relay from De Aza and Beckham was fast enough to cut him down.
  • The next inning, Nick Franklin lined a seemingly worthy sacrifice fly to Alex Rios in right, who hit Hector Gimenez with a throw on the bounce with a rope, where he was blocking a sliding Seager a step in front of home plate.
  • And the next inning after that, an increasingly flagging Axelrod–and he was really never sharp at any point–walked two more batters and loaded the bases for Jason Bay, who has been one of the more productive batters in the Mariners lineup…yet grounded into a 5-4-3 to end the inning and prolong the insanity.
  • In the seventh, the Mariners switched things up by trying to bunt their leadoff runner over to second. Brendan Ryan pushed it too hard and got Kelly Shoppach thrown out at second, and was later punished with a double play by Endy Chavez.
  • With Kendrys Morales on first with one out, Raul Ibanez got sawed off and grounded a squibber to Gordon Beckham. Morales just kind of wafted into Beckham’s path. Maybe that’s how he runs.

Six double plays. Six. Can you imagine? It was probably the 18th craziest thing that happened.

What few opportunities the White Sox got early were also cast aside memorably. Paul Konerko butchered a scoring opportunity in the top of the 10th after Seattle intentionally walked ADAM DUNN to get to him (they did this three times), and Rios managed to stuff two baserunning blunders into a 10-second span while getting doubled off to end the 12th.

The streak is over, so is any notion of Nate Jones or Addison Reed helping out tomorrow, so is Jake Peavy’s window to get traded (it was announced early in the game that he’s out four-to-six weeks with a broken rib), and nothing has changed about the White Sox reality. If anything they lost respect today. But at least there’s the chilling reminder that this game could have possibly gone worse.

Which is chilling.

Team Record: 25-32

Box Score

 

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan

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Tags: Chicago White Sox Drudgery Dylan Axelrod

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