The Chicago White Sox continue their improbable quest to become American League Central Division champions and that came a little bit closer to becoming a reality with a clean sweep over the Seattle Mariners at home on the South Side. Once again, the starting pitching was stellar, the hitting was timely and worked with their pitching. They were able to keep the Detroit Tigers at bay as they also won their series over the weekend against the Los Angeles Angels.
Friday kicked off the series with a wild victory for the Sox. First, it seemed as if the Sox were coasting, leading 7-2 going into the ninth. Starter Jake Peavy continued his streak of quality starts pitching seven strong and solid innings while striking out five. Matt Thornton then pitched a solid eighth and with the game not being a save situation, manager Robin Ventura opted for Philip Humber to pitch the ninth. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bad decision as this started a six run Mariners ninth, that ended with Addison Reed coming in after all and recording a blown save. Despite that, he was still given his fourth victory when in the bottom half of the inning, the Sox rallied for two more runs, with Dewayne Wise scoring the winning run after a collision of two Mariners in the outfield occurred.
After that nerve racking game, the South Siders calmed down a bit for the second game of the set. Jose Quintana started off the game a bit shaky when he gave off a three run homer to start off the game. But he settled down, and pitched the next 4 2/3 innings without any more runs crossing the plate. The bullpen then rebounded from the day before, with Thornton and Brett Myers both recording holds, Nate Jones receiving the victory, and to tie it all up, Reed came back in for the ninth, redeeming himself with his 24th save of the season.
Wise continued heating things up with his hot bat, going two for five, batting in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. Backup catcher Tyler Flowers, who came in following the ejection of A.J. Pierzynski in the third, also contributed with his fifth homer of the year.
And as it turns out, Flowers would get another chance to shine in the finale of the series. The game started out with a lengthy rain delay, and once things got started, Gavin Floyd only pitched two innings citing elbow discomfort, possibly a precaution following the long layoff before the start of the game. Hector Santiago came in, and pitched surprisingly well in this long relief effort. Santiago allowed two runs over four innings, but the Sox’s offense would prove to be the saving grace once again as Flowers launched another homer in the seventh inning, giving the Sox the lead before the rain came back and the game eventually was called.
The sweep now leaves the Sox 2.5 games up on the Tigers entering Monday. That’s really not a lot of wiggle room, especially with a four game set in Baltimore before a weekend show down in Detroit. With both teams having a 7-3 record over their last ten games, it’s obvious that series can go either way. Undoubtedly, this will set the tone for the final month of the season.