On a night where the White Sox were nationally televised as part of an event honoring Civil Rights in America and in baseball, featuring legends such as Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson among others, Yu Darvish and Hector Santiago faced off in a hard fought battle that took the Sox needed all but their 27th out to end.
Rangers (75-54): 2
White Sox (53-75): 3
Phegley came through when it counted. (Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports)
A unique beginning to Hector Santiago’s start saw him allow two baserunners in the 1st while still escaping the inning having faced the minimum. He pressed his luck further in the 2nd, allowing a hit and hitting both A.J. Pierzynski and Craig Gentry with pitches but managing to not allow a run yet again. By the 3rd, you’d think his luck would expire but a couple more men stranded on the bases and the Sox found the game scoreless in the 4th.
Alexei Ramirez, having doubled earlier in the inning attempted to score on a Paul Konerko single but was thrown out on a controversial call at the plate. A.J. Pierzynski blocked the plate well with his foot as he received the throw but it appeared that Alexei still slid in safely before the tag could be applied. Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt disagreed, and the inning ended with the game remaining tied at zero.
As the score would indicate, Hector did manage to calm down, throwing clean 4th and 5th innings. Darvish was not budging either, striking out White Sox batters with ease and matching zeroes on the scoreboard with Hector. That’s when the former White Sox stepped in to change the tempo of the game. A.J. Pierzynski stretched the 6th inning with a 2-out hit to right field. The next batter was Alex Rios, who deposited a ball into the left field seats to give the Rangers a 2-0 advantage. In the spirit of matching, the bottom half of the inning brought a single from Gordon Beckham and a 2-out HR by Adam Dunn to lock the game back up.
Santiago’s third hit batsman marked the end of his evening in the 7th. Matt Lindstrom stranded both the inherited runner as well as Elvis Andrus, who reached on an infield single and stole second in the inning. The Rangers bullpen didn’t enter until the 8th and another familiar face graced the field in Neal Cotts, who delivered a clean inning. The only faltering from either bullpen that resulted in runs didn’t occur until the 9th. Avisail Garcia singled with one out and was able to move to third on a single two batters later by Dayan Viciedo. Matters were then left in the hands of occasional hero Josh Phegley, who played the role tonight with a game winning single to right.
Plus: A couple of homers marred what was otherwise essentially a wonderful pitching duel between Hector Santiago and Yu Darvish. The much prettier and more efficient half of the duel is amazing to watch. Unfortunately for him Santiago was just as effective and the White Sox pen outlasted that of the Rangers.
Minus: Four hit by pitches? 4? That’s a lot of free runners. Amazingly, none of those came across to score. Hit-by-pitch is the new error, I guess.
Player of the Game:
Josh Phegley – .359 WPA