The White Sox pitching conveyor belt has become so reliable that it only takes a couple of good starts from a newly promoted pitcher to start penciling him in for a respectable 10-year career as a reliable mid-rotation starter. Thank Jose Quintana and to a lesser but still significant effect, Hector Santiago for these immediate expectations of competence, but they may need to be re-calibrated now that Andre Rienzo has hit the rocks.
The 25 year-old Brazillian right-hander walked four batters over three innings, and was hammered for five runs for his second-straight outing, and a costly call on a would-be diving catch from Conor Gillaspie in the fourth kept Charlie Leesman from providing scoreless relief in an eventual 7-6 sweep-clinching Red Sox win.
With the White Sox having just pulled the game to 5-4 by driving Boston starter Felix Doubront from the game in the top of the fourth, Leesman faced a pickle with Jacoby Ellsbury on third with one out in the bottom half of the inning. And he apparently caught a break when Gillaspie made a diving snag on a liner off the bat of Dustin Pedroia. But when the ball rolled out of his glove as he laid out to double off Ellsbury, Pedroia was ruled safe, and advanced to second when a confused Gillaspie whipped the ball wide of first base. Robin Ventura earned his third ejection of the season vociferously arguing, and Pedroia scored Boston’s seventh run of the afternoon on the next at-bat when David Ortiz singled him home.
Ortiz also ripped open the second inning on Rienzo, tearing a two-run double into right field that Avisail Garcia was strangely shaded away from, capping off a four-run, two-walk disastrous frame. A solo shot from Stephen Drew in the third marked the final blow of an ugly, wild day from Rienzo, who’s walked 10 in his last 15 innings. Leesman stepped in and added four walks of his own in his 4.1 innings of relief after pitching Saturday, but was not damaged beyond the Gillaspie incident.
The four-run rally to drive out Doubront was the afternoon’s high-point. Alexei Ramirez and Paul Konerko lined consecutive one-out singles through the left side, and Garcia worked a full count walk to set things up for the rather ignoble back of the batting order. But after Jeff Keppinger lifted a sacrifice fly, Dayan Viciedo lined a double off of the Green Monster and came home when Gillaspie ripped a hanging 1-2 curveball into center. That dipped the game into the Red Sox bullpen early and brought the game within a run, but the White Sox would never tie.
After Ramirez singled and stole second in the fifth, he came home on a Konerko single to make the game 7-5, and Tyler Flowers made things interesting both by revealing himself to still be on the roster and by running into a massive solo shot over the Green Monster in the top of the eighth off Craig Breslow. That Boston sent their lefty setup man in to face Viciedo and Flowers in an inning was telling and the White Sox’ failure to tie the game off him meant they had to hope to rally off Koji Uehara in the ninth…which didn’t work out.
Team Record: 56-79
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