The weather radar screen made it clear what the White Sox had to do Monday; get a lead by the 5th and a find a way to sit on it till the rainout.
They came within one out of pulling off the feat with Eric Stults on the bump, before a walk to Lou Marson and interesting decisions with relay throws blew the lead in the bottom of the 5th.
Then things got weird and wet.
The game continued for three innings in a state of near-downpour, and only halted when the White Sox begin a rally in the 8th. After an 85-minute rain delay, Alex Rios promptly tied the game, only for bloop single to fell Matt Thornton in the bottom half.
The 9th inning featured the odd choice of Tony Sipp to close, two almost-home runs, a curious pinch-hitting opportunity for Brent Lillibridge, and two strikeouts from bench players.
Indians 3, White Sox 2
Eric Stults - 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 K, 4 BB - A lot of loud outs, and his control faded down stretch, and it'd be foolish to ask for more
Viciedo, Flowers, Morel - 2 for 10, 2B, R, RBI, 5 K - They all combined for a run, and all looked pretty bad.
Alex Rios - 2 for 4, RBI - The extra-base hit drought continues, but this was the only multi-hit game on the night
Josh Tomlin - 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 2 BB - Set a new career-high for strikeouts in one game, surpassing his previous career-high, also achieved against the White Sox. Tomlin's recorded 19 of his 27 strikeouts against the White Sox
The trouble started when Stults walked Lou Marson, who was 1 for 17 on the season coming in, with two outs in the 5th. And while that was pretty bad, falling asleep while Marson got a running lead for his first stolen base of the season deserves just as prominent of a place on the list of curious things Eric Stults did to undermine his otherwise fine outing.
It put him in scoring position for the subsequent lead-yielding rally.
Things Would Be Different If...
Konerko not starting definitely hobbled an offense that already has a mysterious Josh Tomlin allergy, but if Ventura doesn't think his 36 year-old with a stiff neck and sore foot is fit to start as a DH, so be it. His other choices can be used to impugn him.
Jason Kipnis fielding a sharp grounder by Alejandro De Aza with Morel on 3rd and the infield drawn in saved a run that wound up being fairly valuable.
A deep outfield alignment in the bottom of 8th allowed two bloop singles to drop in, Thornton pitched to Shelley Duncan as righty-specialist Reed fermented in the bullpen, a potential game-tying shot by Alexei Ramirez died at the track in the 9th, and three batters later, a potential moonshot go-ahead HR by Tyler Flowers went foul.
Getting swept in a doubleheader by the division leader to fall four games under .500 and five games back is a pretty rough way to spend a Monday. Worse yet is what was spoiled. In the afternoon, a 6-run output went by the board because Philip Humber couldn't come close to adequacy, and at night, one of the best outings of Eric Stults' career goes as a loss because of questionable defense and a punchless offense.
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Team Record 13-17, 5 games back