White Sox

White Sox fall on extra-inning walk-off in Baltimore

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White Sox fall on extra-inning walk-off in Baltimore

Friday, Aug. 6, 2010
Updated 10:43 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

BALTIMORE - He's been portrayed on these pages as an awesome incarnation of Marvel comics character (as Hulque Increible) and has a twin roaming around in a State Farm commercial, but really, no one around these parts thought of Carlos Quentin as much of an actor.

But ultimately the right fielder's newfound dramatic flair on defense couldn't avoid a Chicago White Sox loss to the Baltimore Orioles in a 10-inning nailbiter.

Adam Jones provided the winner on a bouncer to left, plating Nick Markakis for a 2-1 win.

"Great pitching on both sides," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. We couldn't get anything going all night long: no excitement. They pitched well, and we were chasing a few bad pitches."

"It was fun," said White Sox starter John Danks, while acknowledging the game being frustrating at times as well. "It was one of those where we felt any kind of mistake could be the ballgame."

Baltimore starter Brad Bergesen dueled Danks to a standoff, recording five Ks and giving up only five hits over seven innings. He fell short of earning the win, but did record the fourth quality start in four tries for Oriole starters on their current homestand.

Earlier, it was Quentin's dramatic flair on Felix Pie's seventh-inning line-drive-trap-called-out, fashioned with the right fielder's customary slide-tackle dive that was as significant a play in the game as Ty Wigginton's run-scoring duck snort to left to put the Orioles on the board in the first or Gordon Beckham's solo shot in the third that tied the game for Chicago.

Quentins play, a second shanked call by first-base umpire Jerry Crawford on the night, drew newly-restruck O's manager Buck Showalter out to the dance floor for some jawing, as Pie Tazmanian Devil-dusted himself at first base. Showalter show lasted so long, Guillen jogged out to third-base ump Chris Guccione, wondering why Showalter's open-mic stint was getting an extended run. The two longtime enemies glared at one another as they walked into their respective dugouts, promising a lively four-game wraparound set this weekend.

"I think Showalter was out there too long," said Guillen, acknowledging his concern that Danks stay warm. "But he was just doing his job, and I was doing mine, trying to protect my pitcher."

In the top of that frame came and went the White Sox's only true scoring chance beyond Beckham's dinger. With one out, Mark Kotsay turned extended his road-trip binge with a deep blast to right-center that turned into a standup triple (at games end Kotsay stood at a smoking 7-for-20 on the road trip with a double, two triples, a homer and five RBI). But the designated hitter ran himself into the second out when he broke for home on Alexei Ramirez's squibber down the first-base line. While first baseman Wigginton made a dandy play on the ball, the skipper was hoping for a more conservative approach.

"I wanted the ball to go through, Guillen said. "But when Kotsay saw the little roller, he took a chance. It was a fine decision either way."

"The play was for the ball to go through," Kotsay agreed. "But Wigginton made a good, barehanded play, so you just have to tip your cap."

The drama was pinned at a higher pitch from the seventh forward. White Sox Wonderboy Chris Sale started the eighth in relief of Danks-who retired for the night with seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball, chalking up five Ks in the process-but the gangly fireballer walked leadoff hitter Brian Roberts on four pitches, then allowed a jam-shot base tap up the middle to Markakis.

"Bad," was Sale's self-assessment of his major league debut. "I was hyped up and wanted to do well. I just didnt have any feel. I've just got to get more prepared for the next time and take this as a learning experience."

In spite of Sale's shaky debut, Guillen was encouraged.

"I liked what I saw," he said. "I want to see what I have. He's not scared. You're going to see him in those types of situations more often. He's here for a reason."

Tony Pena relieved Sale with two on and none out, and promptly threw a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third with none out. Wigginton was retired on a screaming liner to third, and cleanup hitter Luke Scott was intentionally walked to set up an inning-ending double play. Jones popped to third, and Pena coaxed struck out pinch-hitter Corey Patterson on a 3-2 changeup, extending the tie to the ninth.

Danks acknowledged the oddity of this Baltimore series, sandwiched in-between A.L. Central grudge matches with the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins. But both starter and manager saw the Orioles as a formidable opponent, with Danks applauding the Orioles 10-hit attack (sparked by Markakis' four in five at-bats).

"They have a great lineup on paper," Danks said. "It's tough to face them. But we're hoping to win this series and get on a little roll before we get home and play the Twins and Tigers."

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

For on-the-rise White Sox, learning to win also means learning to lose

The White Sox lost Saturday night.

That’s baseball, of course, they’re not all going to be winners. And this rebuilding franchise has seen plenty of losses. But the feelings have been so good of late — whether because of Eloy Jimenez’s 400-foot homers or Lucas Giolito’s Cy Young caliber season to this point or a variety of other positive signs that make the White Sox future so bright — that losing Saturday to the first-place New York Yankees seemed rather sour.

Obviously there will be plenty more losses for this White Sox team before the book closes on the 2019 campaign. Back under .500, these South Siders aren’t expected to reach elite status before all the pieces arrive, and it would be no shock if they’re removed from the playoff race in the American League by the time crunch time rolls around in September.

But don’t tell these White Sox that an 8-4 defeat is a return to reality or a reminder that this team is still a work in progress. Even if, for a lot of players, development is still occurring at the major league level, the “learning experiences” that have been such a large part of the conversation surrounding this team in recent seasons and their daily goal of winning baseball games aren’t mutually exclusive.

“The Yankees are sitting in first place and they lost two games in a row,” catcher James McCann said Saturday night, providing a reminder of how the first two games of this weekend series went. “Just because you're expected to win and expected to be World Series contenders doesn't mean you're not going to lose ballgames. It's how you bounce back.

“And it doesn't mean you're going to win tomorrow, either. It's just, how do you handle a defeat? How do you handle a bad at-bat? How do you handle a bad outing, whatever it may be? But it doesn't mean that we step back and say, ‘Oh, we're back under .500, we're supposed to lose.’

“We expect to win when we show up to the ballpark. You can take learning experiences whether you win or lose. Do I think a game like tonight reminds us we're supposed to be in a rebuilding mode? No. We still expect to win, and we're going to show up tomorrow with that mentality.”

Maybe that’s a description of the much-discussed “learning to win” young teams supposedly need to do on the road to contender status. Maybe that can’t happen until a team figures out how to bounce back from a defeat — until it learns how to lose and how to act in the wake of a loss.

For all McCann’s certainty about the team’s expectations on a daily basis, his explanation was peppered with questions. He said he’s seen the answer to “how do you bounce back?” from this club, and his three-run homer in the eighth inning Saturday night was fairly convincing evidence that the White Sox didn’t use up all their fight just getting back to .500.

So while the White Sox know they won’t win every game — that no team will — they need to know how they handle defeat. Losing, it turns out, might end up being more instructive about when this team is ready to win.

“I think we've done a pretty good job (bouncing back),” McCann said. “You look at the road trip in Houston and Minnesota where we took two out of four from a good Houston team and then played really not very good baseball for three days in Minnesota only to come home and have an extremely good homestand.

“It's the big picture. It's not the very next day. It's not, ‘We've got to bounce back and win.’ It's not a must-win situation in the middle of June. But it's how do you handle yourself? How does a game like tonight, do you show up flat tomorrow and let it snowball into a three-, four-game spiral? Or do you fight?

“And that's what this team's been really good at doing is fighting and not giving in.”

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Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

Eloy Jimenez gets rave review from Yankees All Star: 'He can be a star for all of MLB'

The temperature is rising on the South Side, and if you look outside, you know it has nothing to do with Mother Nature.

Instead, it’s a heat wave coming from a fresh-faced 22-year-old slugger who’s crushing baseballs, igniting a fan base and screaming “Hi Mom!” to his actual mother whenever he spots a TV camera with its red light on.

Eloy Jimenez has arrived with the White Sox, and according to a New York Yankees All Star who has known him for years, the best is yet to come.

“Not this year, but next year, he’s going to be even better,” infielder Gleyber Torres said about Jimenez.

The two of them were signed by that team across town in 2013 when they were both 16 years old. They were practically inseparable back then, and they remain tight to this day.

“I talk with Gleyber pretty much every single day now. He’s kind of like my brother,” Jimenez said. “We haven’t lost that communication, and I think that’s good for us.”

Torres echoed similar thoughts about Jimenez.

“In my first couple years with the Cubs, he was my roommate every day. We’ve got a really good relationship. We’re like brothers. We are really good friends,” Torres said. “I’m just happy to see what he’s doing right now.”

Which, lately, has been just about everything.

There was that majestic home run Jimenez belted on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals that landed on the center field concourse at Guaranteed Rate Field, the two walks the next day when the Yankees decided to pitch around Jimenez as if he was a perennial All Star, and then the two-homer game on Friday: The first one gave the White Sox the lead, the second stuck a dagger into the Yankees, as well as the heart of his longtime friend.

“For sure, I didn’t like it,” Torres said with a smile about Jimenez’s two-homer, six-RBI game. “I’m not surprised. I knew Eloy before he signed with the Cubs out of the Dominican. He’s a big dude. The power is coming every day.”

How good can Jimenez be? Torres, who plays on a star-studded team with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius, sees Jimenez reaching the same stratosphere.

“He can be a star for all of MLB. He’s just a young guy right now, but when he matures a little more, he can do everything.”

Jimenez is turning up the heat in Chicago, and it’s not even summer yet.

The South Side can’t wait for the sizzle to come.

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