Two errors accounting for three bases in the second inning, a botched coverage and bad throw to allow a run-scoring double steal with Vernon Wells, two strikeouts to spoil a bases loaded situation in the first inning and Alexei Ramirez getting doubled off third base to end the fifth.
All the aesthetics of very traditional White Sox disaster effort were in place, but they proved to a mirage, or simply the opening act.
The real ugliness came from an unfamiliar source, and in the immediate wake of a highly-effective night from Chris Sale, who cruised through seven innings without anything close to a self-induced problem and turned over a 4-1 lead to his bullpen with one out in the eighth. A single poked through the middle by Derek Jeter and a booming opposite field double off the wall to Robinson Cano chased Sale, and prompted Robin Ventura to go with one of the three men in the world he trusts–Nate Jones.
Jones has been racking up strikeouts with an improved slider all season long, but he hung two of them in short order to Alfonso Soriano and Alex Rodrigues, who lined back-to-back singles to bring the White Sox to the doorstep of a lead-blowing disaster, before Donnie Veal came in and left a fastball up to Curtis Granderson, who pushed the Sox right on through it with a game-tying single. Since it would have been odd to trudge on further post-demoralization, Matt Lindstrom stepped in to face the right-handed Eduardo Nunez with two outs, and saw a sinker buried low and inside whipped down the left field line for a game-deciding two-run double and a 6-4 Yankees win.
Mariano Rivera stepped in and obliterated the White Sox bottom of the order with the sort of strike zone that the greatest closer of all-time tends to get.
Chris Sale, whipping through 7.1 innings with only an entirely unearned run (two errors, then the defense getting completely fooled on a double steal) and two runners he left for Jones counting against him, will get remembered as a tragic figure, but also cast asunder was a half-decent offensive effort against Hiroki Kuroda, who spent much of the season leading the AL in ERA.
Alejandro De Aza‘s second booming drive of a seventh inning at-bat stayed fair while clearing the right field wall for his 15th home run of the season, and chased Kuroda off with a 4-1 deficit through 6.1 innings pitched. Two innings prior, Alexei Ramirez had broken a 1-1 tie with a two-run triple down the left field line that Alfonso Soriano egregiously misplayed into the corner.
Another Soriano outfield curiosity led to the Sox first run of the night. He took a poor route on a Gordon Beckham line drive to the gap and let it squirt past him to the wall for a double, allowing Beckham to score on a soft Adam Dunn single two batters later.
In running out of steam a bit against two elite hitters in the eighth after crossing the 100-pitch barrier, Sale finished the game one strikeout short of the 200-strikeout barrier for the season. It is deemed unlikely that he cares, but it’s possible. He has probably put a great deal of thought into every statement he’s ever made to the press.
The White Sox have lost five in a row.
Team Record: 56-81
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