The margins in MLB are slim enough that even something as basic as a three-game sweep against a slumping Indians team requires some surprising extra contributions. On a related note, an opposite-field Moises Sierra single gave the White Sox a 10-inning walk-off 3-2 victory, buttressed by 7.1 outstanding innings from Hector Noesi.
Sierra's single, a full count flare down the right field line, followed two ugly whiffs after Sierra was gifted a 3-0 count by Indians reliever Bryan Shaw. Sierra's knock scored Leury Garcia, who had stolen second and tagged and moved to third after pinch-running for Tyler Flowers, who reached on an error. The extra-time heroics were only necessary after a truly ignominious blown save by Ronald Belisario, which stung more for the two-out decision to intentionally walk Jason Giambi than for Belisario's mediocrity. The decision pushed Belisario to pitch to the far superior Yan Gomes, who promptly singled home the tying run. (which was only on second base in the form of Michael Brantley after Adam Dunn threw a ball intended for Joakim Noah to second base on a potential double play ball).
The blown save also spoiled a more traditional ending that the Sox had set up, after they manufactured a go-ahead Adam Dunn sacrifice fly off Cody Allen to break a 1-1 tie in the eighth, set up by walks from Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo, and yet another hit from Conor Gillaspie. In retrospect, it was more of a slow and natural buildup in a game of an odd and uncharacteristic hijinks, and needed to be factored out.
It's rare that fate rolls the dice for a pitching duel between two guys entering the night with ERA's over 6.00, and has the primary offensive punch of the first seven innings come from a 43-year-old man who was given more consideration for managerial work than baseballing activities over the off-season, and a back-up second basemen with a sub-.280 OBP, but apparently I'm just the luckiest birthday boy of them all.
Save for grooving Jason Giambi an 0-2, two-out meatball in the second, White Sox starter Hector Noesi was some sort of hyper-efficient whiz Wednesday night. He breezed through 7.1 innings with only Giambi's solo blast against him, and struck out five while walking none behind a hard, tumbling slider.
On a night where the bullpen didn't pitch six innings in the previous evening, it's debatable whether having Noesi fight through a two-out matchup with Jason Kipnis with two runners on in the sixth, or start the eighth would have been the prudent move, but throwing caution — and Noesi — to the wind coaxed another mystifyingly solid outing from the twice-DFA'd Dominican.
Matching Noesi, and thus stealing the spotlight and flinging the game headlong into absurdity, was T.J. House cleaning up against Sox hitting in his second career start. The three-quarter lefty was perfect through three innings, and worked a fine changeup for eight strikeouts through six scoreless frames to start. He came out for the seventh, though, at which time things unraveled for him very quickly.
Adam Dunn led off the frame by dropping a single in between the shift, and lumbered to third when Alexei Ramirez lanced a drive into the left-center gap. Ramirez was thrown out on a far too greedy attempt for second, but Indians manager Terry Francona pulled the plug on House, only for Scott Atchinson to surrender the 1-0 lead via a poked Marcus Semien RBI single up the middle. Semien went 1-3 with a walk, covering up the craziness of him serving as the Sox DH.
Team Record: 28-27
Next Game: Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT vs. San Diego on CSN Chicago
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