After a bad, bad week in the windswept hellscape of California, the White Sox needed a pleasant distraction from the everyday turmoil of being themselves; a shining glimmer of what things are headed toward rather than an unforgiving hold shot on what they currently are.
Enter in a dominant night from something resembling a new offensive core, and just enough brushes with bullpen and defense-related catastrophe to make you feel alive. The White Sox No. 1-4 slots in the batting order pounded out nine hits and knocked in all the White Sox runs a 6-5 victory over the division-leading Tigers, and Ronald Belisario and two ninth-inning doubles gifted by terrible outfielders couldn't quite give it up.
Half of the offensive heroes were saviors we were promised at the beginning of the year. Adam Eaton was a pest, leading off the first with a triple and scoring the game's first run, and slapping a bouncer RBI single through the infield for an insurance run in the sixth after Alejandro De Aza reached on a bunt and an error. And Jose Abreu did his thing by looking awful in a couple at-bats before launching a 400+-foot two-run bomb to open up a 5-2 cushion on Rick Porcello in the fifth.
Less intuitive is the continued assault of singles from Conor Gillaspie, who knocked two RBI singles through the infield, both of which followed doubles from the stubbornly resurgent Gordon Beckham. Beckham started Sox off by rapping an RBI single off the mound to bring home Eaton in the first, then kickstarted the third and fifth by lifting doubles to the warning track. Beckham's season line is up to .298/.337/.429, serving proof of the wonders that fifth chances can provide.
It probably didn't take Tyler Flowers' 11-pitch walk in the third to show that Porcello didn't have the best snap to his pitches Monday night, but Abreu's cannon shot to the center field bleachers saved a night that could have been defined by spoiled opportunities. Abreu cut down a first and third opportunity in the third with a first-pitch GIDP, and the Sox couldn't take advantage when the Tigers committed back-to-back errors in the fourth. Porcello left after five innings having allowed nine hits.
Handed a 6-4 lead in the ninth, Ronald Belisario got three-straight catchable flies, unfortunately the first was a liner that defensive replacement Moises Sierra lost in the lights and wound up ducking away from, and the second was an Alex Avila drive to the wall that De Aza comically overran. The hardest hit fly of the bunch, a Eugenio Velez fly to the center for the first out, might have the most behind it. After that, Belisario was actually good again. He got a gift strike to punch out Ian Kinsler and got an easy chopper from Torii Hunter to stop the losing skid at three.
White Sox starter Hector Noesi was promising in spurts, striking out five to one walk over 5.2 innings, and was Old School Hector Noesi in other portions, allowing three home runs to Miguel Cabrera, Velez and Victor Martinez. He didn't make many mistakes, but they were highly visible, to fans and hitters.
But Hector is a winner for the second time in a week, which is only one fewer than the Sox have managed to accumulate in that time.
Team Record: 32-33
Next Game: Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT vs. Detroit on CSN+
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