It was a crucial game that was played in a playoff atmosphere with playoff implications. In the end, the White Sox prevailed before a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Cell.
My favorite things about today's beautiful afternoon on the South Side:
1. The 5-4 Sox victory expands their A.L. Central lead to three over the Tigers with 16 games remaining.
2. White Sox resilience: Down 3-0, then 4-3, the Sox combined clutch hitting with an unhittable bullpen for the comeback win.
3. Speaking of the bullpen, the combination of Nate Jones, Donnie Veal, Brett Myers, Matt Thornton and Addison Reed came on in relief of Jose Quintana to pitch five innings of scoreless, one-hit baseball. Jones, who pitched 2 2/3 frames and gave up the only hit, is now 8-0. Talk about a vulture.
4. Manager Robin Ventura's managing of that pen was brilliant. He replaced Quintana with Jones, replaced Jones with Veal, who proceeded to strike out Prince Fielder to end the seventh. He then went to Myers who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and retired the first batter, pinch-hitter Quintin Berry, in the ninth. Thornton relieved Myers and retired lefthanded pinch-hitter Andy Dirks. Ventura then went to Reed to close it out and he got the tough Austin Jackson to fly out to right for his 27th save.
5. Dewayne Wise started in centerfield today because, according to Ventura, Alejandro De Aza is "out of sync." Well, Wise certainly wasn't. All he did was go 3 for 5 with the two RBIs that tied the score at three in the fourth inning.
6. Last but not least. Alex Rios not only went 2 for 3 with a run scored, but he was responsible for the tying and winning runs in the fifth as he upended Tiger second baseman Omar Infante, broke up a potential inning-ending double play with the bases loaded and forced him into the errant throw that scored both Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko to make it 5-4. Gordon Beckham called it the play of the year.