Perfect baseball moments seem to make a point of creeping in out of nowhere, to the point where perfect setups should be looked at suspiciously.
Jose Quintana cruising with a perfect game through five innings against a sleepy Boston offense, in the afternoon hour so that the baseball world could gaze upon him and wonder how he missed All-Star attention? Too perfect.
Conor Gillaspie pinch-hitting hopelessly in the ninth inning against Koji Uehara with a runner on and down two in the ninth? Just random enough.
Ronald Belisario trying to pitch over a leadoff walk to hold a 3-3 tie in the 10th inn--well, this doesn't apply. The White Sox bullpen is bad.
Belisario never found any kind of command sweet spot after coming out for the 10th, and wound up giving up a game-winning RBI single to pinch-hitter Mike Carp, after pitching around Stephen Drew to face him. It spoiled a thrilling comeback, which was already a desperate solace to a spoiled opening five innings from Quintana, so the 4-3 loss was like a guilty verdict after a long trial filled with a lot of damning evidence.
Conor Gillaspie's continuing perfection only influenced a small portion of the game, as he sat against the left-hander Jon Lester--who basically shot fire out of his eyeballs (7 IP, 12 K, ER)--but knocked out a game-tying two-run blast around Pesky's Pole to tie things up.
The Sox led for the first five innings, solely off the strength of a Jose Abreu first inning double off the Green Monster to score Adam Eaton from first. They accomplished nothing else, since Lester struck out two batters in every inning through five, but Quintana's airtight command kept him perfect through 15 batters.
A complete unraveling of that same command turned the game in the sixth. Quintana walked the first two batters amid complaints that the zone tightened up on him, and lost his no-hitter and shutout when Jackie Bradley Jr. poked a single to right field. After managing not to go 3-0 to the next two batters and getting some groundouts, Quintana stood on the precipice of escaping with a single run allowed before David Ortiz stood in. A crucial missed call on a check swing shifted Quintana from 1-2 to 2-1, and he doubled down on the tragedy by grooving one over the middle to be crushed into the left-center gap.
Faced with a two-run deficit on the road, with an offense getting pulverized by Lester, and a need to depend on the bullpen (though Quintana worked another inning), the Sox were lucky to string things along as far as they did. They even came across a go-ahead scoring opportunity in the top of the 10th to futz away. After Adam Eaton reached to leadoff the inning, Robin Ventura emptied out first base to bunt him over, allowing the Red Sox to walk Abreu and induce comebackers to Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez.
Team Record: 44-49
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