Chris Sale is the type of pitcher who can wait a while for offensive support, and since he already waited for it all of 2013, what's eight innings more? Striking out six over eight shutout innings, the White Sox ace ended an often-brutal stretch four-game stretch pitching and a three-game losing streak by besting the Royals' James Shields 5-1 in a Sunday duel.
Both starters breezed through six scoreless innings essentially unmolested, with the 0-0 tie only being broken when a two-out Alexei Ramirez dribbler kicked off Alcides Escobar's glove just a few inches, allowing Conor Gillaspie to come home on his second double of the day.
But the fireworks, or the parade of singles and walks, came after Sale had thrown his last pitch of the day. Tim Collins came on to hold the Sox at a 1-0 advantage in the top of the ninth and essentially failed at everything he set out to do.
The Sins of Collins
- He, brought into retire lefties, let Adam Dunn knock a leadoff single through the shift
- He, brought in to not give out free walks for no reason, walked Dayan Viciedo
- He, witnessed and did nothing to stop Sal Perez inexplicably side-arming a ball at Leury Garcia as he tried to steal third. The ball would have been a base hit by a diving shortstop if it had come off a bat. Garcia scored.
- He, brought in to not give out free walks for no reason, walked Avisail Garcia
- He, witnessed and did nothing to stop Ned Yost bringing in another lefty to face Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers, both of reached base and knocked in runs.
A poorly-timed stretch at first base by Jose Abreu extended what should have been a sleepy bottom of the ninth, as the Royals added a run on Matt Lindstrom through little besides decently-struck groundballs. Abreu would probably be DH-ing on most teams. Most teams are not carrying Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn.
The Sox infield committed two infield throwing errors (Alexei was charged for a rather poor throw on the Abreu stretch) but the defense marked their day with a couple of sparkling plays. Avisail Garcia nearly decapitated himself saving a double with a diving catch in the fourth, and Ramirez shined by going deep into the hole and firing from his knees to retire Billy Butler in the seventh. Ramirez pounded his glove and yelled in triumph, amid a mostly frustrating afternoon in the field that displayed some reduced range. He could console himself with a two-hit, two-RBI day. Avisail could not.
As for ephemera, the White Sox lost two close replays in both halves of the sixth, and when Abreu was plunked in the sixth (second hit batter of the day), known firebrand Chris Sale threw three straight balls way inside to Omar Infante. Fans of violent displays of masculinity everywhere were quietly satisfied. Everyone was warned and Infante was retired
Team Record: 3-3
Next game, tomorrow in Colorado at 7:40pm CT.
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