After leading through the first six innings, the Chicago White Sox bullpen stumbled, allowing the Texas Rangers bats to pull their club ahead in the top of the eighth, before an Alex Liddi RBI double in the bottom of the ninth gave Chicago a 7-6 walk-off win Tuesday afternoon in Cactus League play.
Carlos Sanchez led off the bottom of the ninth for the White Sox with a single to left field; he was then pulled for pinch-runner Micah Johnson, who promptly stole second, setting up the game-winning double by Liddi an a 1-0 pitch from Texas left-hander Rafael Perez (0-1).
Chicago starter John Danks was lights-out in his five innings on the hill, although he did struggle at times with control, issuing three walks and allowing four hits on the afternoon.
The White Sox opened the scoring early on, plating two in the bottom of the first inning against Rangers starting pitcher Joe Saunders, who was making his debut in a Texas uniform. An RBI single from Jose Abreu plated the first run and Paul Konerko followed with a single of his own that plated Avisail Garcia to make it a 2-0 Chicago lead.
In the bottom of the third, Gordon Beckham hit his first home run of the spring to push the lead to 3-0 in favor of Chicago and Abreu singled in the fourth to drive in his second run of the game and give the White Sox a 4-0 advantage halfway home.
Texas scored once in the seventh, but plated five in the eighth against Chicago pitching. Brad Snyder drew a leadoff walk and former White Sox infielder Brent Lillibridge followed with a single, advancing Snyder to second. Two batters later, after a fly ball advanced both runners, a sacrifice fly from Adam Rosales made it a 5-2 ballgame.
Jim Adduci then doubled to score Lillibridge before coming around to score himself after a Bryan Petersen double to left field. That spelled the end of the afternoon for Mitchell Boggs, who allowed four earned runs in just 2/3 of an inning, pushing his spring ERA to 14.73.
With Donnie Veal on the hill and an inherited runner on second, Rougned Odor singled on a ball back to the pitcher and a throwing error by Veal allowed Petersen to score and Odor to advance to second. Pinch-hitter Brett Nicholas came into the game and drew a walk, but a wild pitch during the sequence allowed Odor to advance to third. A single to center off the bat of Michael Choice gave Texas its first lead of the game, one it would relinquish for good in the bottom of the ninth.