The White Sox have been embarrassing all season-long, but for the most part, it’s been a well-hidden embarrassment. They’ve faded into obscurity playing boring, low-scoring games that no one watches, and have generally avoided judgment from abroad besides the passing thought of “Good GOD, what happened to the White Sox?!” But as a show of the neverending cruelty of this season, the White Sox are finishing this year playing a bunch of playoff contenders in search of meaningful wins. With Chris Sale on the mound and the Detroit Tigers moving toward clinching a playoff spot, the eyes of the baseball world drifted over briefly to this game.
And then they did this.
Jake Petricka‘s second inning of work in the 12th never came to completion as three walks (one intentional) placed him in a situation where his dully batting away an Omar Infante groundball from where any of his infielders could help handed the Tigers a 7-6 victory. The youngster will take the loss, but the shame came much earlier, and after all, Petricka only had three of the bullpen’s seven walks in 3.2 innings.
Chris Sale guided the White Sox through 7.2 innings of shutout ball, and the top relievers in the White Sox bullpen were able to keep the magic going for exactly one more out. Handed a practically unprecedented 6-0 lead entering into the ninth inning, Nate Jones allowed five runs–capped off by a three-run bomb from Andy Dirks–without recording an out, and Addison Reed managed to squeeze four walks into just two-thirds of an inning of work, loading the bases with walks, allowing a game-tying sacrifice fly, loading the bases with another walk, before delivering the game to extra-inning hell.
Earlier, in far off moments of naive innocence, the White Sox tore open a torrent a run support for Chris Sale. Kickstarted by an Avisail Garcia single up the middle, Tigers starter Rick Porcello was chased from what was previously a deadlocked shutout with and RBI double to the gap from Jeff Keppinger and another bloop RBI single from Gordon Beckham
After Paul Konerko added another run to the Sox credit with a flared RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the eight, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland responded by taking his foot all the way off the gas and kept Jeremy Bonderman in to finish the eighth and brought him back out for the ninth. In his second frame, Bonderman allowed four hits, including RBI doubles to Bryan Anderson (his first hit of the season) and Marcus Semien.
Sale brought his ERA back under 3.00 for the season, but this is the second win he’s lost this month after working more than seven innings and handing his bullpen a lead. The White Sox now need to go 3-5 to avoid 100 losses, but are finding completely novel ways to blow amazing starting pitching.
From Elias Sports Bureau, the #WhiteSox had never had a six-run lead entering the ninth inning or later before tonight and lost.
— Dan Hayes (@DanHayesCSN) September 22, 2013
Team Record: 60-94
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan