Adam Dunn has never been the type to get demonstrably fired up. It’s to the point where it was a curiosity for a while what his reaction might be if heading up the White Sox offense ever afforded him the opportunity to hit a walk-off blast on a meaningful night in September. Or even, dare I say it, a playoff game.
Now that most dreams of a White Sox competitive window while Dunn is under contract have gone by the boards, Dunn’s demure trot around the bases–casually blowing his bubblegum and never cracking a smile about his walkoff until his whole head was engulfed in slapping hands at the plate–seemed appropriate after lifting an opposite-field solo shot off Tommy Hunter in the bottom of the ninth.
In handing the Sox a 3-2 victory, Dunn had extended the White Sox streak of independence day walk-off victories to three, given them a series win, ensured that a superlative Jose Quintana outing would not go wasted even it still gave him Q a no decision and most importantly redeemed himself, after an eighth inning error kickstarted an Orioles rally.
Nate Jones stepped into the game in the eighth and gave up a walk and double to lead off the inning, so it’s not as if Dunn’s letting a Matt Wieters grounder glance off his glove as he tried to snag it at the lip of the outfield grass on the first base foul line created problems where there was previously peace. Only a leaping catch on a line-drive by Gordon Beckham on the previous batter kept the game from already being tied. A sacrifice fly by Nick Markakis knotted the game up at 2 after a run scored on Dunn’s error, which provided a fine occasion for everyone to think about Nate Jones leading all White Sox relievers in innings.
It would be better to think about Jose Quintana. In the spirit of compartmentalization and focusing on the youth that will be on the roster for years to come, this game was an easy watch. After an up-and-down June, Quintana provided a fine candidate for the best start of his career. His fastball had the extra, late life on it–hitting 95 on occasion–that marks his best days and he struck out a career-high eleven in seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball. One of those hits was a bunt, another was a bloop. He was untouchable, but bound–as ever–by his pitch count, and left after 112 throws. 19 swinging strikes, though. 19.
Alex Rios–preening for potential trade suitors–went 2-4 with a stolen base, an RBI and a run scored. His hot grounder in the sixth skirted through the middle, scored Alexei Ramirez, who utilized his typical waterslide-style entry into home plate and allowed Rios to advance to second on the throw. Rios challenged Adam Jones’ arm to advance to third on a Dayan Viciedo flyout, then came home for the second run of the game on Dunn’s single.
It was a mice day for the veteran lineup anchors. YEAAAHHHH, OTHER COMPETITIVE TEAMS…YOU LIKE WHAT YOU SEE HERE?! THIS CAN BE YOURS.
Team Record: 34-48
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