Instant Rationalization - Dunn's heroics blast away a dreary afternoon

Instant Rationalization - Dunn's heroics blast away a dreary afternoon
The would-be tragic hero // Leon Halip, Getty Images

The first seven innings of Saturday's afternoon showdown in Detroit served as a reminder that the White Sox have an odd inability to hit Max Scherzer that the rest of baseball lacks.

It also figured to serve as a coronation that Gavin Floyd is this year's Sox pitcher that his offense refuses to support.

But then Adam Dunn hit a ball to the upper peninsula of Michigan in the top of the 9th inning for a go-ahead two-run homer, and everything was fine.

More or less.

Because Chris Sale isn't available until Monday, Hector Santiago is the lame duck closer for the weekend.

He still doesn't have much besides a mid-90's heater, and after the well-struck balls stopped falling into gloves in the 9th, Addison Reed came in and stranded the winning run on 2nd base for a satisfying win.

Satisfying, because they nearly lost the game twice.

White Sox 3, Tigers 2

Key Performances

Gavin Floyd - 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 108 pitches - The silent hero of the game, retired 12 straight at one point

Paul Konerko - 1 for 3, HR, BB - Games where he reached base twice and collects four total bases seem routine.

Viciedo/Morel - 0 for 4, 4 K - Both were pinch-hit for in the 8th by a disappointed Ventura.  Their pinch-hitters accomplished nothing as well

Adam Dunn - 2 for 4, HR, 2 RBI, 1 K - Home run was estimated at 422 feet, probably an underestimation by a few football fields

Max Scherzer - 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K - He must have saved up a lot of energy by only getting through 4.2 IP in his last start

Jose Valverde - 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 K - Now has two more blown saves than he had last season

Hector Santiago - 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB - This is probably the last time they're going to try him in the 9th for a while

Addison Reed - 0.1 IP, 1 K, SV - Sadly, the same goes for Addison

Turning Point

The White Sox played small ball in working Alejandro De Aza over to 3rd base with one out in the 9th, and only needed a fly ball from Dunn to tie the game; so he gave him one.

Jose Valverde gave Dunn a perfectly center-cut 94 mph fastball, and he hit a flyball to right that landed just short of the second deck in the right field bleachers, and gave the Sox their first lead of the game.

Things Would Be Different If...

There can't be enough said about how the Sox aren't in any position to rally in this one without a sterling performance from Floyd, who was a streak of bad luck with weak contact away from a possible shutout.

Still, the credit goes to Hector Santiago's previous blown saves for quickening Robin Ventura's trigger after he put the winning run on 2nd base.  Robin had Reed ready in time for when Santiago fell into trouble, and the payoff was immediate.

Takeaway

A rescued win always has a sense of thrill to it.  The White Sox narrowly avoided ending the day with the disappointment of being dominated by the struggling Max Scherzer while wasting another superlative effort from Floyd, then narrowly avoided blowing Dunn's most heroic moment as a White Sox (unless you were really attached to the walk-off balk last Independence Day)

To top it off, the Sox grabbed a win in a tough environment for just their third win out of the last 11 contests.  It was especially necessary since tomorrow will be spent finding out if Dylan Axelrod belongs in the rotation.

 

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  • Back to my theme of pedantic radio hosts, last August or so, several of them were saying "getting rid of the hitting coach isn't going to accomplish anything." However, in Dunn's, and maybe belatedly in Beckham's cases, it apparently did.

    I'm sure that if this game were played in mid 2011, the call would have been "Mighty Adam struck third leaving [I guess Pierre for De Aza] stranded at third as the game ends."

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