Uhhh, what did I just witness? // Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
It was mighty clever of Major League Baseball to try to slide in the return of controversial star Alex Rodriguez behind the marvelous and showstopping White Sox offense, which has scored literally hundreds of runs this season. Given the media horde present, I’m not quite sure it worked, but the Sox delivered their expected barrage of hits, ran roughshod over Yankees starter Andy Pettitte and cruised to an 8-1 victory.
Back on Earth, Andy Pettitte looked like a guy thoroughly at the end of his rope, couldn’t find a good cutter all night and got dinked to death by a punchless, but still major league-quality White Sox offense over a hellish 2.2 innings. The White Sox exploded for 14 hits on the night, but 11 came off Pettitte.
Four-straight bloop singles greeted Pettitte to start the night, including a nubber from Jeff Keppinger that kicked off the mound and snuck under Pettitte’s foot. His first out in this BABIP-drenched fever dream came in the form of a booming Adam Dunn sacrifice fly to the right field warning track, and it was fittingly followed by an RBI Gordon Beckham jam shot to left field. It was that kind of night–an evening of stupendous luck seemingly handed out of pity to a suffering Sox offense, and cosmic forces trying to coax Pettitte back into retirement.
Alex Rios, who recently became a shinier trade target in the wake of Monday’s carnage all over the league, highlighted a four-RBI night with a two-run fisted single in the second, and closed the book on a seven-run night for Pettitte by drawing a bases loaded walk from reliever Preston Claiborne in the third.
Actually lost among the bizarre explosion of offense and cascades of drunken boos dripping down from the aisles every time the reviled and well-compensated third basemen moved an inch, was Jose Quintana playing the role of beneficiary for once. Not blessed with his best stuff, or emboldened to try some of his fringier breaking offering with a massive lead at his back, Quintana benefitted from some rangy outfield defense to cover up the eight hits he allowed over 6.2 innings.
Dayan Viciedo laid out for a first-inning flare off the bat of Robinson Cano, missed it barely but recovered to fire a strike to second in time to nail Cano. He jammed his thumb in the process and exited the game to an uncertain future, but was replaced by Alejandro De Aza, who flashed the speed that makes him at home in center field, tracking down two shots to the gap to end the seventh inning and quash any Yankee notions of recovery
The normally superb strikeout-to-walk ratio remained for Quintana (5:1) and he exited after 6.2 innings to deserved cheers. Alongside him with the top performers was Alexei Ramirez, answering calls that he was miscast as fill-in leadoff man by pouring in four hits and Adam Dunn, who drew three of the Sox seven walks on the evening.
Speaking of cheers, Rodriguez went 1-4 with a bloop single, but got the whole joint rocking when he was frozen by a 3-2 Matt Lindstrom slider in the eighth. It was a rare night to gloat, so everyone took advantage.
Team Record: 41-69
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan