White Sox outlast Phillies in a very long battle of like minds

Jul 13, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez (10) forces out Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz (51) at second base in the fourth inning during game one of a doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a series with no more meaning beyond two professional baseball teams competing to generate interest and revenue, the White Sox had just sold off a key cog of their bullpen and there was a nightcap game scheduled for 7 pm. So naturally, the Sox and Phillies battled through a 41-minute rain delay, 11 innings and over four hours. It’s the only way things are allowed to go this season.

But in their diligent climb toward respectable performance, Alejandro De Aza and Alexei Ramirez broke a 3-3 tie by kickstarting a two-out, 11th inning rally with dueling flares into the outfield gaps. De Aza tested Ben Revere‘s throwing arm with a triple and scored on Ramirez’s double to right. Jimmy Rollins booted an Alex Rios flare, allowing Ramirez to add a the crucial insurance run that Addison Reed  immediately utilized before securing his 24th in a 5-4 win.

The problematic downpour hit Citizens Bank Park with two outs in the top of the ninth inning, interrupting a hot and muggy Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia that dotted the White Sox road grays with darker-gray stains. The game was tied, Nate Jones and Jonathan Papelbon the pitchers of record.

When the game resumed 41 minutes later, after the field was hurriedly and haphazardly drained, Nate Jones was still the pitcher of record. Any doubts about Jones’ state after the prolonged break weren’t diffused quickly. He allowed back-to-back singles to Kevin Frandsen and Darin Ruf, then a botched pickoff play to balk them over to second and third.

It was then that he found his slider. Or it was then that his slider found a 98 mph fastball to play off of. Carlos Ruiz lifted a weak fly to the wrong guy in left field, Laynce Nix whiffed on a slider to take away the idea of a sacrifice and Alex Rios parked himself in front of a Ben Revere liner to end the threat. Jones will keep getting thrown into situations like this one, so he might as well get used to it. As embarrassed as the Phillies might have been to blow that scoring opportunity, blowing a situation with runners on first and third with one out after Adam Dunn let a Domonic Brown grounder under his glove might have been worse. Ramon Troncoso blew away Delmon Young and induced a weak grounder from Kevin Frandsen.

A similarly unfortunate wave of events greeted the Sox, now selling off in earnest, to open an afternoon that read like a simple loss starting out. Ramirez canceled out a promising first inning by assuming a throw to third on his single and getting tagged out trying to retreat, and John Danks followed up in the bottom half of the inning by getting knocked around by the likes of Delmon and Michael Young (probably no relation).

The early misery was enough to send the Sox into 2-0 hole, and they’ve routinely shrunk in response to smaller setbacks. But Danks’ flirtations with the upper half of the strike zone chilled after the first inning and the White Sox bats begin to close in on Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone.

With two outs in the top of the second inning, Gordon Beckham launched a missile to dead center, where it bounced inches in front of center field wall. Unfortunately, with National League play in place and Beckham comfortably seated in the No. 8 slot, John Danks was not ready to be an RBI man. Beckham’s blast was wasted, but more hard contact chased it.

Josh Phegley and Beckham followed each other up with singles to lead off the fifth, putting Danks in a situation to bunt rather than swing for the fences. After Danks pushed them over, Alejandro De Aza coiled a line drive along the right field foul line for a game-tying double. Adam Dunn led off the next inning by recovering from an 0-2 count to walk, then scooted to third when Dayan Viciedo coiled a line drive of his own down the left field line. Conor Gillaspie, ever the trusty manufacturer, drilled the first pitch he saw to Ben Revere in center to plate Dunn.

Ir set up a nice potential story of John Danks battling through a rough start, but a nice ending eluded him. Darin Ruf took his 107th pitch of the afternoon–a high changeup–out over the wall in dead center as De Aza dived helplessly and inaccurately into the wall after it. A Carlos Ruiz single followed up the mighty blow and chase Danks from the game. Given his luck over the recent years, a no-decision is a fine recovery

Adam Dunn, Alexei Ramirez and Alejandro De Aza combined to reach base 12 times.

 

Team Record: 37-53

Box Score

 

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan

Topics: Chicago White Sox, Gordon Beckham, John Danks

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