The Hector Santiago train breaks down in Boston
By James Fegan
There had been signs, for sure.
Since Aug. 2, there had been four-straight starts where Hector Santiago had not looked right, where here his command looked particularly shaky and his fastball squirted to strange corners of his catcher’s reach. Friday night brought the fifth. Santiago walked five batters in 3.1 innings and took the credit for a 4-3 defeat to kick off a weekend set in Boston.
Santiago danced out of walking two batters in the first inning, but kept trying to one-up the feat. Or, if the angry expletive he bellowed after flinging a fastball into the dirt against leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury was any indication, he kept spiraling further out of control. In a rapid-fire sequence in the third, he walked David Ortiz, plunked Jonny Gomes in the thigh, and walked Mike Napoli to plate the first run of the game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia stepped into this situation, strangely took it upon himself to try to hit a grand slam, and popped out before Santiago could hurt himself further.
But Santiago was gassed by the inning that should have finished him. Three-straight hits, including a two-run single that David Ortiz lashed past Gordon Beckham chased him with only one out in the fourth and a 4-0 deficit, with already 101 pitches thrown.
Naturally a combination of Jake Petricka, David Purcey (working multiple innings!) and Matt Lindstrom silenced the Red Sox’s feared offense for 4.2 innings and kept the White Sox in the game.
Dayan Viciedo (with his second-straight multi-hit game) got the White Sox semi-comeback started by bouncing an RBI single through the middle to score Avisail Garcia in the fifth. Garcia had singled behind a Paul Konerko double, but given the state of affairs in 2013, Konerko barely made it to third on Garcia’s single, and was thrown out trying to run home on a Jeff Keppinger groundball to short. He’s slow.
Garcia got the scoring started again in the seventh again, swatting a solo home run to right-center on a looping Ryan Dempster curveball, his second in as many games. After a Keppinger groundout, Viciedo chased Dempster from the game with a booming wall single off the Green Monster and scored when Alejandro De Aza flipped a triple into the right field corner off Junichi Tazawa. Tazawa stepped in and allowed three-straight solidly-hit fly balls, but two of them died in middle center field.
Tazawa got Alexei Ramirez out to start the eighth, Franklin Morales came on to retire Adam Dunn (now 0-7 against him for his career), and with four outs left, the Red Sox had effectively bridged their way to Koji Uehara, who was as dominant as advertised.
Team Record: 56-77
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