“And this ballgame is bobbled and over YES!” The words from Hawk Harrelson as Orlando Hudson nearly fumbled away the final out. Fitting end to a game from a team that cannot decide if it wants to walk or stumble across the finish line.
It was mostly a painful night, but with one swing of the bat, Adam Dunn changed everything.
It was evident early, the White Sox would get no help from Kansas City on this night. Justin Verlander was his usual dominant self and Luke Hochevar was his usual terrible self. Verlander cruised through eight innings as the Tigers beat the Royals 6-2 and put the pressure on the Sox.
Zach McAllister looked to become the latest no namer on a bad team to baffle the White Sox as he breezed through the first three innings. The offense looked to strike in the fourth on a Kevin Youkilis double, but the home plate umpire did his best replacement official impression and blew the call. The Sox would strike in the fifth and six innings with the highlight being a Dunn solo shot to deep center.
More from the donkey in a moment.
His counterpart, Chris Sale was good, but not great. The lefty gave up 10 hits in seven innings, but only allowed three runs in a no decision. He exited with a one run deficit, but the way things had been going it felt bigger than that.
Then came the biggest hit of 2012. With an 0-2 count, Dunn didn’t shorten up for a single. He did what he does best, he belted a fastball out of here. It was shades of 2005 when Joe Crede hit a bomb also against the Indians to bring in some Sox fans off the ledge. The blast put the Sox up 5-3 and it was up to the new closer by matchup committee to nail it down.
Donnie Veal couldn’t bail Matt Thornton out and allowed his first hit against a left in 27 at bats when Shin Soo Choo doubled. At 5-4 and White Sox fans’ collective sphincters tightening another lefty, Jason Kipnis came up with a chance to tie. He couldn’t solve Veal and despite a bobble from Hudson, this ball game was mercifully ovah.
With the win, the Sox remain a game ahead of the Tigers and the magic number is now nine.
Tomorrow the Sox will throw Franciso Liriano against the Indians’ Corey Kluber. The Cleveland rookie has started 10 games and has a 5.36 ERA. Which probably means he will have electric stuff on Tuesday.
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