For large portions of Monday night's game, the starting pitching was sharp enough to make innings feel like victory laps. After three innings, Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was cruising on the way to his inevitable perfect game. He only threw 21 pitches for nine outs, the Sox looked like crap. It was happening.
But after Gordon Beckham broke up his perfecto with a sharp single to right-center, and Jose Abreu announced his return by whipping a high slider over the left field wall to give the Sox a seemingly massive 2-0 lead, Jose Quintana was marching toward his glorious triumph over the odds. That lasted until the bottom of the sixth, when the White Sox defense got a hold of the game, and they hit a hell of a lot harder than Abreu.
Two physical errors of the statistically quantifiable kind, one mental error that it's up to us amateur historians to chronicle, a Justin Turner bloop/pop-up base hit, and five unearned runs later, and the Dodgers were on a victory lap of their own, honored with a 5-2 win for being the team that was less dead set on losing.
After entering the sixth with just two hits allowed, Quintana set himself up for a bit of doom by letting Kershaw spray a single into left, but worked his way back from a 3-0 count to strike out the purposely passive Chone Figgins, then seemed to overcame Gordon Beckham inexplicably whiffing on a Matt Kemp inning-ending double play ball by striking out NL MVP frontrunner Yasiel Puig, and getting Hanley Ramirez to slap a bouncer over to Conor Gillaspie at third.
Then, the rain came.
Gillaspie should have stepped on the third base bag. It was an easy force play that was there for him, especially with Kershaw being the runner on second. But, BUT!--I can understand him throwing over. Throwing to first is a so much more common action, that if an infielder is just acting out of routine and locked in, I'm a little hesitant to fault them for going with it.
Conor was not locked in on this throw. He rarely is and he certainly wasn't tonight. Instead he double-clutched, and as he had been doing throughout the evening, tried to nervously edge himself closer before releasing--that he got closer to the bag makes him not recognizing the force play look worse--and uncorked something like a splitter to Jose Abreu that bounced at the lip of the infield dirt and squirted past.
Torturously, while Gillaspie's error was emblematic of the collapse, it didn't end the misery. An Adrian Gonzalez infield single off Quintana's glove that Beckham nearly retrieved in time actually tied the game, and the flare from Turner broke it open. Drew Butera hitting an RBI single off Quintana, only adding another dollup to the sadness, managed to not even being one of the top-five upsetting moments of the night. Quintana's ERA dropped to 3.31 for the year by being otherwise dominant, so he has that.
Besides That Abreu Dinger, the Sox spent most of their time being liquefied by eight innings of Kershaw and a Kenley Jansen save, probably the two arms in baseball most deservings of a shrug when they decapitate your lineup.
Team Record: 29-30
Next Game: Tomorrow at 9:10 p.m. CT at Los Angeles on WGN
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