Avisail Garcia has had to avoid excitable teammates chasing him off the field more than any other player in the majors this season.
The White Sox are just as accustomed to their current position -- needing way too many wins to bother to keep track. But Garcia delivered a big one late Wednesday night as he doubled in the winning run to lift the White Sox to a 3-2 victory in 13 innings over the Los Angeles Angels.
Garcia’s hit off Cesar Ramos rolled to the wall in left center and Jose Abreu scored all the way from first to give the White Sox a three-game sweep of the Angels. White Sox pitchers stranded 14 Los Angeles runners in order to earn the victory -- one that keeps the team’s very faint wild-card hopes alive.
“We’re in a position where we need all the wins we can get,” starting pitcher John Danks said. “This is important. Gotta win, that’s just the way it is. We’ll enjoy this offday and hopefully keep it going this weekend.
“It doesn’t do us any good look ahead.”
Actually, it probably is to the team’s benefit to avoid a look at the standings altogether. Though they completed a series sweep of the Angels, one of seven teams ahead of them for two wild-card spots, the White Sox remain 4 1/2 games back in the chase.
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
The series sweep is a step in the right direction, but it's one of many huge strides the team needs before it can even begin to harbor thoughts of extending its season. White Sox manager Robin Ventura prefers his players not look further ahead than the next day on the calendar and believes that would suit them well.
“It's a nice win, just day to day,” Ventura said. “For us, just play to day. Our guys are feeling that feeling again. For us, just play day to day and that's what they're going to do.”
Garcia’s offensive resurgence has improved the team’s chances.
Jose Abreu -- whose fielding mistake allowed the tying run to score in a controversial ninth inning -- singled to center off Ramos to start the winning rally. After Melky Cabrera popped out, Garcia, who walked twice in five trips, including intentionally in the 11th, ripped a 2-2 curveball to the fence to easily score Abreu.
Garcia leads the majors with four walkoff RBIs, according to Stats, Inc. The four walkoff RBIs is the most by a White Sox player since Joe Crede had five in 2004.
“I feel different,” Garcia said. “I’m staying back on the breaking ball now and recognize the pitches and don’t try to do too much and just learn to put the ball in play. We’ve been fighting.”
The Angels tied the score at 2 in a very surreal ninth inning.
First, David Robertson struck out Erick Aybar, who ran to first base after the ball bounced. But plate ump Fieldin Culbreth ruled Tyler Flowers had tagged Aybar and ended the play, which was reviewed. After a lengthy delay, Aybar was ruled out and the call stood.
But C.J. Cron and Johnny Giovatella both singled off Robertson to put runners on the corners. Conor Gillaspie hit a grounder and Abreu -- instead of throwing home -- stepped on first base and tried to start a double play, which not only allowed the tying run to score, but also allowed the go-ahead run to advance to second as Alexei Ramirez was ruled to have obstructed the path of Giovatellla.
Robertson retired David Murphy to strand Featherston.
Four White Sox relievers stranded seven runners in the final four innings.
John Danks continued his best run of the season with another superb start.
Over his last six starts, Danks has a 2.75 ERA, including a July 27 outing in which he allowed six earned runs. Four times in the past six, Danks -- who allowed a run and five hits with three walks in 7 1/3 innings -- has allowed one run or fewer.
“Gotta win, that’s just the way it is,” Danks said.