Winning Ugly was a phrase used to describe the manner in which the 1983 White Sox won games. The description stuck and the division winning team has been known as the Winning Ugly Sox ever since. It’s with those jerseys on their backs that the Sox attempted to take the rubber game of their series with Seattle and win another series on the season. Five hits in ten innings certainly isn’t pretty, so winning ugly it is.
Mariners (3-4): 3
White Sox (4-2): 4
Adam Dunn hit the first of three White Sox homeruns today in the 10-inning win over Seattle. (Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Each squad got themselves on the board early with 2-run homeruns, Mike Morse for the Mariners and Adam Dunn for the White Sox. Neither of the blasts was in question off of the bat. What was in question afterwards was the Sox ability to score any more runs as Seattle Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma retired the next 16 batters that he faced. On the other side, Chris Sale didn’t have the same untouchable stuff we saw at the beginning of the week as his slider control wasn’t sharp, but he held strong and his 6 innings of 3 run ball was enough to keep the Sox in the game long enough for the big finish. He pitched through the 7th, striking out 7 batters on his way there.
Justin Smoak threatened to start the 7th inning off well for the Mariners lining a single to left field, but when he tried to stretch it into a double Gordon Beckham was waiting for him, ball in glove, courtesy of a great throw from Dayan “Cannon” Viciedo. Instead, Sale would pitch over a ground-rule double by Robert Andino in the inning, moving the action along with the Sox still looking at just a one run deficit. That deficit disappeared quickly along with Iwakuma’s batters retired streak thanks to Alex Rios hitting his third homerun in as many games to lead off the Sox half of the 7th. As streaky as Alex has been over his time on the Southside that long ball represented the first time he’d homered in three consecutive games. Going into the bottom of the 9th the White Sox would face Oliver Perez, who is evidently still alive and kicking, throwing baseballs in major league stadiums. He was only allowed to throw 8 of them, but it was enough to retire De Aza so that right-handed so that Eric Wedge could keep the lefty/righty shuffle going. Despite Alexei Ramirez reaching on a drop third strike, the game moved on to extras.
Addison Reed came on to keep the score even in the 10th, and he succeeded. The bullpen would have to get taxed no further as Dayan Viciedo ended the game on a deep blast the left field, taking it upon himself to pose it out a little bit. He earned it. The White Sox once again score all of their runs on dingers, but when they result in wins, who really cares?
Plus: With Sale going deep, the bullpen didn’t have to work too hard from an innings standpoint, but getting zeroes up on the board in the late innings does nothing but help the cause. Jesse Crain and Matt Lindstrom put in the work along with Reed, with the Lindstrom striking out two batters to pitch over a Gordon Beckham throwing error in the 8th.
Minus: Paul Konerko and Alejandro De Aza were 0-8 today and will be going into week 2 with .167 and .100 batting averages, respectively. Obviously somebody has to hit at the top of the order, and somebody has to hit in the middle. Both of the these players need to get it in gear for the White Sox to continue their winning ways. Somewhere in between plus and minus is Gordon Beckham’s 0-3. Gordo had some nice at-bats, hitting the ball hard a couple of times but came away with nothing thanks to some poor wind/BABIP luck.
Player of the Game:
Dayan Viciedo – .335 Win Expectancy Added