To lead off the second inning, Dayan Viciedo committed one of those types of errors that clues everyone into the possibility that the fan participating in the mid-inning ‘catch a fly ball’ contest is intoxicated. He drifted back aimlessly on a Salvador Perez fly ball to slightly center-left, pawed nervously at the wall with his throwing hand, placed his gloved up and whiffed completely on a ball that might as well have been traveling completely perpendicular to the ground for a two-base error that a wild Andre Rienzo would actually manage pitch out of.
Two innings later, he watched a close pitch tail off the outside corner to jump ahead in the count 1-0, then took a hanging Jeremy Guthrie slider out 400-feet to a similar direction in left for a game-altering grand slam to put the White Sox up 5-0. providing a glimpse of why the organization was willing to suffer the prospect of converting him to the outfield in the first place, and why power is so alluring. Execute the living hell out of one RBI situation and all the others become much lower leverage situations, which served the Sox well since they didn’t get another hit with runners in scoring position for the rest of the night.
Rienzo at this stage and on this night, is like an engine, taken of out of the car, stripped of all its deception with its working parts laid bare. You can very much see him trying to stay closed and guide his fastball into the zone, you can see him looking to snap his overhand curve once he gets ahead in the count. It all worked, even when it didn’t.
Rienzo issued a two-out walk to Billy Butler in the first inning, then followed it up by getting Alex Gordon to chase two-straight curves in the dirt for an inning-ending strikeout. He similarly started on his path pitching out from under Viciedo’s two-base error in the second by getting Mike Moustakas with a couple of curves, and not even a very good one for the finisher. He committed the cardinal sin of issuing a leadoff walk to Jarrod Dyson in the third, but was immediately aided by a brilliant turn by Paul Konerko on a 3-6-3 double play.
By the time cracks appeared in Rienzo’s ability to strand the waves of leadoff runners he was allowing (the leadoff man reached in the last five of his six innings of work), he was gliding on a five-run advantage. He got three-straight outs after allowing back-to-back singles to Butler and Gordon to leadoff, one of them just so happened to be a Mike Moustakas sacrifice fly. The greater cause of striking out Mike Moustakas with curveballs in the dirt pushed Gordon over to second on a wild pitch, from where he would score on a David Lough single in the sixth. He left with a quality start, with five nice strikeouts and three troubling walks.
Robin Ventura, fighting like hell to keep this blessed winning streak intact, rode with his best horses to protect the 5-2 lead Rienzo left him with. Donnie Veal pitched over Paul Konerko letting an Alexei Ramirez throw sail beyond his glove to record two outs with no further damage, Matt Lindstrom allowed a 340-foot foul ball down the right field line to Butler that scared everyone before ending the seventh, Nate Jones was aided by Paul Konerko snagging a liner off Lough’s bat and doubling off Emilio Bonifacio to end the eighth and Addison Reed recorded the save for the fifth-straight game.
“Are you going to be able to brush your teeth in the morning?” Hawk quipped to Reed during the post-game. It wasn’t funny.
-Andre Rienzo earned his first win, which is also the first time a Brazilian born man has ever won a major league game. Just go sign the whole country now, I suppose.
-Avisail went 1-5 with two fairly ugly strikeouts and his one hit was of the infield variety. He can really run.
-Viciedo and Conor Gillaspie both had three-hit nights out of the Nos. 7 & 8 holes. Dan Hayes hinted at the possibility of Gillaspie smiling after the game. I have my doubts.
Team Record: 51-74
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