CLEVELAND -- Adam Eaton insists the bubble he blew before hitting a game-winning grand slam Wednesday night wasn’t the equivalent of his eyes lighting up at the sight of a fat pitch.
On the contrary, the White Sox outfielder said he was focused after looking bad on the previous two pitches of the at-bat.
But right before the point of impact, Eaton blew a perfect bubble and then matched it with a flawless swing on an 0-2 pitch from Cleveland Indians closer Cody Allen. The first grand slam of Eaton’s career helped the White Sox snap a seven-game losing streak as they topped the Indians 10-7 in front of 14,371 at Progressive Field. Dioner Navarro also had an RBI single during a five-run ninth inning against the American League Central’s top team.
“I think I was so flustered about my swing before, I was just trying to make contact, not to look really stupid, and apparently I blew a bubble,” Eaton said. “I’m all right with that.”
“It was a lot of fun. I give a lot of credit to the guys I had ahead of me to even put me in that position.”
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
The White Sox had already rallied twice earlier in the contest before Todd Frazier started a one-out comeback in the ninth with an infield single off Allen. Trailing 7-5, the White Sox offense hadn’t done anything since the fourth inning as starter Carlos Carrasco and two relievers kept them quiet. But singles by Frazier and J.B. Shuck and a Tim Anderson walk loaded the bases. Dioner Navarro’s blooper to left hit off the glove of Jose Ramirez to make it a one-run game and brought up Eaton.
Three pitches later, the White Sox delivered the same kind of punch they’ve experienced too many times to count since May.
“I’ve felt one of those before,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “For us, we realize what it feels like, but we realize it can happen, too. I think that’s part of fighting all the way through to the ninth inning and not giving it to them. You make them earn it and tonight we just fought our way back where we get something and it goes in your favor.”
The White Sox need a lot more like this one to go in their favor and realistically don’t have the time. Though they have winnable upcoming series at home against Oakland and Philadelphia, the White Sox remain nine back in the race for the second wild-card spot. They also sit at 57-62 with 43 games to play.
Despite their extremely long odds, the White Sox refuse to give in. That was made clear early when it looked like the offense would go nowhere against Carrasco, who struck out four of the first six he faced and had a 2-0 lead.
But Shuck singled to start the third inning and Anderson blasted his seventh homer, a two-run shot off the left-field foul pole to tie the score. His ninth-inning walk was also the fifth Anderson has drawn in 48 plate appearances after he took only two in his first 203.
Down 4-2, the White Sox pulled ahead in the fourth inning as Frazier doubled in two and scored the go-ahead run later when the Indians botched a rundown. But Carrasco didn’t budge from there as he retired nine of the last 11 he faced.
“Very fun to play in that kind of game, especially when Eaton hit the grand slam,” Anderson said. “It was a big moment for us.”
It was also quite a big bubble, though Eaton did it involuntarily and teammates told him about it later. He also shot down the notion that Allen left the pitch too far up and the bubble was a reaction to seeing a pitch in the zone.
“It wasn’t hanging,” Eaton said. “Concentration you do some things you’re not thinking about, and mine must be blowing a bubble, so we’ll take it."