We're drowning in comments about how much worse the 2013 White Sox were at everything than this gleefully .500 club, but find some room for this one: the 2013 White Sox would have never made this twisted wreck of baseball hell into a game. The 2013 White Sox also did not have Jose Abreu.
The two-out, line shot, walk-off, ninth-inning grand slam off Rays closer Grant Balfour the rookie slugger sent rattling into the right field bullpen accomplished a lot of things at once:
- Won the game 9-6
- Was his second home run of the night
- Sealed his third multi-home run game of his career
- Set the rookie record for home runs in the opening month with nine
- Hahaha Grant Balfour
Staring down a 6-4 deficit going into the ninth after Evan Longoria took Matt Lindstrom deep in the top half, the Sox rallied for five runs off Balfour, capped off by Abreu's blast. After getting a quick out to leadoff, Balfour allowed a double to Alejandro De Aza, walked the suddenly immortal Tyler Flowers (2-3, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, R) and loaded the bases by walking pinch-hitter Paul Konerko on a full count, before somehow getting into a brief tiff with the elder statesmen as he trotted up the line.
Prior to Abreu's heroics, Adam Eaton kept the game alive by beating out a double play at first on an RBI fielder's choice, and after a three-strikeout night, Marcus Semien waited out Balfour's third walk of the inning to bring Abreu to the plate, where he sprayed an 0-1 fastball into the right field bullpen, sending Hawk and the remaining fans (and Twitter) into a frenzy.
There was a whole hideous game before this that we can discuss if you still want to. The White Sox won despite 11 walks from the pitching staff (five to Matt Joyce), and got all of 1.2 innings from Erik Johnson, who has walked nine batters in 6.2 innings over his last two starts.
The Sox were down 4-1 in the second before most of Chicago had made their first switch over from the Hawks and Bulls games to see how they were doing. Johnson's parade of walks (four free passes in 1.2 IP) didn't have such a charming and unique result as it did Sunday in Texas. Instead it was a far more traditional tale of a pitcher with awful control removing his margin for error, then getting hacked to death by soft RBI singles from Yunel Escobar and Ryan Hanigan. A two-run double from Ben Zobrist and the second walk to Joyce ended Johnson's night, and gave way to a surprisingly capable though equally wild committee of Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam, who worked 2.2 shutout innings.
If the Rays weren't over there making little use of 21 baserunners and hitting into three double plays, the White Sox offense might have had some room for regret with the way the earlier innings went. Four straight singles, the final coming from Tyler Flowers, tied the game at 4 in the fourth inning. But the Sox ran themselves out of the inning when the Rays came home to get Alejandro De Aza on an Adam Eaton grounder, and caught Tyler Flowers as well when he hesitated while advancing to third.
Flowers didn't get to third again in the seventh, but it wasn't his fault. He was stranded after leading off the inning with a double. Jose Abreu kept the Sox in it early as well, driving Eaton home with an RBI single in the first and hammering a hanging slider to dead center for a solo home run--his eighth at the time. He's currently slugging .632, which is good.
Team Record: 12-12
Next game is tomorrow vs. the Rays at 6:10pm CT on CSN Chicago
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