Delayed Rationalization – A.J. leads Sox at the plate and on the bases in victory over A’s

Delayed Rationalization – A.J. leads Sox at the plate and on the bases in victory over A’s
A.J. Pierzynski sure put his stamp on today's game. (www.offtheupright.com)

***Just like James yesterday, I was at the game today, which is why this recap is delayed.  Unlike James, I decide to attend games not started by Gavin Floyd.  The strategy panned out well today.***

White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski might not be the fastest guy in the world, but he’s definitely one of the smartest base runners in baseball.  The same guy who took first on the infamous dropped third strike in the 2005 ALCS, scored from first base on a ground ball out.  Yes, you read that correctly.

Pierzynski took off for second with a full count on Alexei Ramirez and no outs. Ramirez hit a soft grounder shortstop Cliff Pennington (who committed two errors in the game) who threw Ramirez out at first.  When Pennington was about to release the ball, Pierzynski alertly took third base with nobody covering, because the third baseman attempted to field Ramirez’s ground ball. A’s catcher Derek Norris ran to cover third when Pierzynski took off.  After Pierzynski made it to third base, Sox third base coach Joe McEwing noticed that nobody rotated to cover home, and sent Pierzynski to score the Sox’s seventh run.

Pierzynski earlier broke a one-all tie with an opposite-field home run, his 23rd, in the sixth inning.  The lady in front of me at the game actually called Pierzynski’s homer moments before he hit it and too her credit (unlike Ed Farmer), it was the only thing she called for all game.

Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale had yet another stellar outing, allowing only two runs on six hits in six and two-thirds innings, while striking out 11 Athletics hitters.

Key Performers

A.J. Pierzynski – 2-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – Pierzynski he the go-ahead homer in the sixth to give the Sox a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Chris Sale – 6.2 IP,  6 H, 2 ER, 11 K – Outside of two solo homers,  Sale was absolutely dominant today, make A’s hitters look silly and filthy off-speed pitches to go along with a heater that topped out in the mid-90’s.

DeWayne Wise – 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI – No, Wise didn’t make any spectacular catches in the game, but he did prove serviceable at the plate, getting on base twice and knocking in a run.  And now that Jordan Danks has been optioned to Triple-A, it seems as though Wise will have more opportunities to contribute.

Turning Point

Pierzynski’s two-run, go-ahead homer in the sixth inning swung the momentum right back towards the “Good Guys” after Oakland had tied the game in the top half of the sixth inning on a Jonny Gomes homer.  It’s always nice to score right after the opponent, because it often sucks the life right out of them, as it did Oakland today.

Things Would Be Different If…

…Chris Sale had been seriously hurt trying to field a ground ball in the fifth inning.  A’s shortstop Cliff Pennington hit a soft grounder just past Sale to his left.  Sale tried to retreat to field it, and when he did, it seemed as though he hurt his left knee (which Robin Ventura confirmed in the post-game interview).  Fortunately, after throwing some practice pitches, Sale was good to go and helped lead the Sox to the series win.

Takeaway

The White Sox won a series that, frankly, they should have, by beating the A’s in the rubber match.  The win concluded a nine-game, ten-day stretch of home games that saw the Sox go 5-4 against the Angels, Royals and A’s.

It was a weird home stand to say the least, as the Sox’s only series defeat was to the lowly Royals.  A 5-4 mark is okay, but the win today, coupled with Detroit’s loss in Texas, brings the Sox’s lead over the Tigers back to two games.

The Sox now depart for a seven-game road trip in Toronto and Kansas City, two places that have no been friendly in recent years.

Overall Record: 62-51, 2 games up on Detroit

Filed under: Game Wraps

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