Sometimes baseball is a simple game, where success is simply measured by clobbering more home runs than your opponent. In this mode of play--one that takes outfield defense out of the equation--the White Sox are a pretty competitive group. Jose Bautista should take note, a team with Jose Abreu on it can win some home run competitions, as the Sox out-homered the Blue Jays 4-3, and won the game outright 5-4.
Of course, we can't mention the fun part of the game first, because the White Sox bullpen squeezed every last drop from the 5-2 ninth inning lead they were handed, and from Robin Ventura's remaining sanity. After giving up a leadoff home run to Colby Rasmus, soon-to-deposed closer Ronald Belisario got a stern talking to on the mound from Ventura, then yanked when he allowed two of next three batters to line singles and ramp up the dread.
Checking his cupboard and finding cobwebs, Ventura tried to play matchups and put recently recalled lefty Eric Surkamp against Adam Lind. Surkamp recovered from a 3-1 count, but Conor Gillaspie's attempt to field Lind's grounder with his chest didn't take. Jake Petricka finally stepped in with the bases loaded and got Jose Reyes--who beat out a double play and pushed across another run--and Melky Cabrera to chop out in short order to end the madness. He might have earned himself a promotion in the process.
As for the fun part of the night, an unlikely pitcher's duel between John Danks and R.A. Dickey creaked along sleepily through four scoreless innings. Dickey's knuckleball confounded Sox hitters early on, as he struck out six through four innings, until it suddenly became very hittable, even if only to Cuban expatriates.
Abreu opened the scoring by yanking his 24th home run of the season into the second deck in left field, and his scuffling campanero Dayan Viciedo followed him up three batters later when he finally found a pitch he could time up, slapping a line-shot out to right field to put the Sox up 2-0.
The Blue Jays tied it up in the sixth, when Edwin Encarnacion and Dioner Navarro went back-to-back to unsettle Danks' tranquil outing. Danks issued no free passes and only allowed five baserunners on the night, and ended his night after six innings with a quality start in hand.
That tie lasted all of four pitches into the seventh, before Abreu found another knuckleball to his liking and drilled it just out of reach of Anthony Gose and over the 400 sign in center for his 25th blast of the season. After following up with a four-pitch walk of Adam Dunn, Dickey allowed the death blow to Alexei Ramirez, who found another looping knuckler to his liking and boomed out a two-run blast to left. Dickey finished with five runs allowed and a loss, but struck out nine.
Besides putting every Sox fan on the brink of swallowing their own teeth, Jose Reyes RBI fielder's choice at the end of the night was the first run of the game not created by the home run. The Sox bullpen ruins all that is beautiful.
Team Record: 37-44
Next Game: Friday at 12:07 p.m. CT at Toronto on CSN
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