A lot of smooth and easy narratives went by the wayside during this 14-inning marathon.
First, there was the White Sox tattooing Bruce Chen for three home runs and six tallies total. An easy, happy tale almost arose out of this auspicious beginning
Second, was Jose Quintana looking out of sorts, and as a result, very hittable, yielding five runs with no help from his backstop or right fielder. A sobering tale of regression could have been crafted around this.
Third, was Nate Jones shining a light on the need for bullpen help, and yielding an two-run triple in the 8th inning and handing the Royals a lead heading into the 9th. A case of late-inning heartbreak is a familiar baseball tale.
All those would have made for perfectly good game stories. But at that point the game broke off, and floated into another realm of madness, and didn’t return for several hours
Both team’s closers entered the game with a one-run lead, and blew the save. Both teams traded runs in the 12th. 28 total runners were stranded, 18 pitches were used, and each bullpen was stretched to where spot starters Evertt Teaford and Dylan Axelrod were waging war at the end of the night.
Fittingly, the decisive run was an agonizing process, as back-to-back singles by Beckham and De Aza set up Kevin Youkilis for a grinding at-bat that ended in a sacrifice fly. Axelrod heroically made it stand up.
White Sox 9, Royals 8, Final/14 innings
Jose Quintana – 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HR – He pitched less than half of the game, but while he was there, there wasn’t much command
Adam Dunn – 2 for 4, HR, BB, 2 RBI, 2 K – Played a whale of a ballgame, was pulled for a pinch runner, and then did something else for nearly three hours
A.J. Pierzynski – 4 for 7, 2B, RBI, R – Hit a game-tying single in the 9th, and more impressively didn’t have his knees fall off after squatting for over five hours
Alejandro De Aza – 1 for 6, 2 BB, 2 K – The hits haven’t been falling for him, so it’s nice to see him work the count again. He saw 49 pitches on the night
Dayan Viciedo – 2 for 5, HR, 3 RBI, BB – There was point in the night where he was poised to be the hero. It was before 10 pm.
Kevin Youkilis – 1 for 4, 3 BB, SF, RBI, 2 R, K – He and De Aza combined to see 88 pitches. That’s valuable at the top of the order.
Dylan Axelrod – 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 3 K – A pretty outstanding and vital effort in a pinch for a guy who probably is getting kicked out of the rotation.
Jhan Marinez –
With another inning to try to get to Everett Teaford in the 14th, the Sox got back-to-back one-out singles from Beckham and De Aza to set up runners on the corners. With Orlando Hudson on deck, a big responsibility fell on the shoulders of Youkilis to deliver
He clearly wanted to make sure he got things right, fouling off 10 pitches in a 14-pitch at-bat, before flying out to center to score Beckham.
Things Would Be Different If…
Games don’t go to 14 innings without a lot of missed opportunities, so in bullet form, here are some events that could have helped end the game sooner had they gone another way.
- Quintana didn’t allow solo home runs on two different occasions where he started the batter 0-2
- A.J. and Quintana didn’t combine for two wild pitches
- Alex Rios hadn’t misplayed a Lorenzo Cain single into an RBI
- Kevin Youkilis wasn’t thrown out trying to run to 3rd in the 6th inning.
- Yuniesky Betancourt hadn’t lined into an inning-ending double play in the 7th.
- Nate Jones wasn’t the #2 setup man OR had Robin decided to play lefty vs. lefty in the 8th inning rather than put it all on the shoulders of the rookie.
- Robin Ventura pinch-ran with one of his two bench players who are faster than Orlando Hudson in the 9th, or if the 50/50 call at the plate with Hudson went the other way
- Jarrod Dyson didn’t inexplicably allow himself to be picked off in the 9th
- Addison Reed had more than a fastball to close out the 12th
This game was not marked with sound defense or baserunning.
The only thing that would make a unending, bullpen-killing marathon at the start of a very long road trip worse would have been to lose it.
Quintana looked shaky, the entire bullpen got used, Pierzynski undoubtedly got used too much to play Saturday, they may have to shuffle the rotation to give some extra rest for Axelrod, and not a soul will be at their freshest by tomorrow afternoon.
But they won, it’s over, and they avoided dropping a game in the standings. Let’s never speak of it again.
Team Record: 48-38, 3 games up
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Tags: A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn, addison reed, Alejandro De Aza, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, baseball, bruc chen, dylan axelrod, everett teaford, Gordon Beckham, jarrod dyson, Jhan Marinez, jonathan broxton, Jose Quintana, Kansas City Royals, kevin youkilis, lorenzo cain, orlando hudson, Robin Ventura, White Sox, yuniesky betancourt