The way Will Ferrell debated in ‘Old School’ is how Adam Eaton described his walk-off home run on Wednesday night.
“I blacked out,” Eaton said.
Eaton said he intentionally swung for the fences when he led off the 11th inning and his solo shot off Roberto Osuna propelled the White Sox to a 7-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in front of 17,032 at U.S. Cellular Field.
The second walk-off of Eaton’s career helped the White Sox to their sixth win in eight tries as the offense finally broke out of a long slumber at home. The White Sox finished with 16 hits and snapped a franchise-record streak at 24 straight home games with four or fewer runs scored, a stretch that dated back to May 9.
“I thought the next one was going to be a heater,” Eaton said of a 1-0 pitch that resulted in his sixth homer. “I have to admit that was the first time I tried to hit a homer, and for some reason, I don’t know, I blacked out. But it happened to work out well.”
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Eaton’s walk-off homer was the first by a White Sox leadoff man since Scott Podsednik ended Game 2 of the 2005 World Series with a ninth-inning solo homer off Houston’s Brad Lidge.
The 362-foot drive is as rare as the night it ended for the White Sox offense.
A group that has languished for 81 games, averaging 3.41 runs per contest, got going early with three first-inning runs against Toronto starter Drew Hutchison. Melky Cabrera had a sacrifice fly and Adam LaRoche doubled in two more to give the White Sox a 3-0 lead.
“We are putting a dent in that first-inning deficit,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura joked. “Guys were swinging it and it’s nice to see.”
Avisail Garcia, who had a season-high four hits, singled in a run in the third inning to tie the score at four after Jose Abreu reached on a gift, one-out double when center fielder Kevin Pillar lost track of a routine flyball.
The White Sox also battled back from a 6-4 deficit in the sixth inning, all with two outs. LaRoche, who had two hits and a walk, and Alexei Ramirez both singled to start the inning. Carlos Sanchez’s single to left scored LaRoche to make it a one-run game before Eaton’s infield RBI single tied it.
John Danks couldn’t make the early lead hold up against a powerful Blue Jays lineup that chased him from the game by the fifth inning.
Down 3-0, Toronto started the third inning with five straight hits to tie the game. Danks’ own misplay led to the third hit, an infield single by Devon Travis, as the pitcher failed to cover first base on a grounder to LaRoche. Jose Reyes then singled in two runs to make it a 3-2 game and Josh Donaldson doubled in a run. Edwin Encarnacion’s sac fly gave the Blue Jays a 4-3 lead.
Two innings later, Donaldson had a one-out RBI double and Jose Bautista singled to make it 6-4.
But the offense and bullpen came through for Danks, who allowed six earned runs over 4 1/3 innings.
Scott Carroll stranded a pair of runners for Danks with a strikeout of Encarnacion and a Chris Colabello groundout. Carroll pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out three.
Zach Duke pitched two scoreless innings. David Robertson and Zach Putnam (3-3) each had one for the White Sox.
“The offense picked us up,” Danks said. “Picked me up. We showed up to the ballpark trying to win a ballgame and we did that. It wasn’t pretty but a win is a win and we’ll take that.”
Eaton reached base four times in six trips to the plate. Similar to the way Ferrell couldn’t recall how he bested James Carville, Eaton had few details on the point of impact.
He didn’t, however, have as much difficulty remembering his thoughts as he raced around the bases.
“Holy you know what,” Eaton said. “Very exciting. I had one in Arizona, as well. They’re very special.”