Alex Colomé was as efficient as could be in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night.
The White Sox called on their closer in a tie game, and he retired the three Cleveland Indians he faced on six pitches.
So why, after the White Sox took the lead with two runs in the top of the 10th, did Colomé not head back out to finish off the Indians?
Instead, Matt Foster and José Ruíz combined to cough up that lead. All with two outs, Foster gave up a run-scoring double to Francisco Linidor and walked Cesar Hernandez, and Ruíz served up a walk-off, three-run homer to José Ramírez, who might just be the hottest hitter on the planet right now.
Just like that, a White Sox comeback win to get them out of this mini-funk they're in turned into one of the season's ugliest losses, and they've now dropped four of their last five, with games against Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac on deck the next two nights in Cleveland.
So, again, why no Colomé?
Turns out, the plan was to send him back out for the bottom of the 10th. But, manager Rick Renteria revealed after the game, Colomé experienced back spasms in the dugout after the ninth inning and was unable to return to the mound.
Meanwhile, Renteria was ejected from the game in the top of the 10th inning while defending Tim Anderson, who had been thrown out by home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez for yelling about a strike call from the dugout. That left bench coach Joe McEwing to make the pitching change that brought Ruíz in to face Ramírez.
Renteria explained after the game that McEwing brought in Ruíz with a desire to have a power pitcher face Ramírez.
Ruíz might have struck as an unconventional choice, as he hasn't been part of the group of high leverage relievers the White Sox have used to great results this season. As both Renteria and general manager Rick Hahn have explained throughout this shortened season, the availability of certain pitchers is not made public knowledge, so suggesting that a certain reliever should have been used is easy to say but not always done with all the information in hand.
Ruíz made just his fifth appearance of the season Tuesday night. He hadn't given up a run in his prior four.
The White Sox bullpen had already been well dipped into prior to McEwing calling on Ruíz, with Codi Heuer and Garrett Crochet used earlier in the game, as well as Colomé and Foster. With Aaron Bummer and Evan Marshall both on the injured list, there weren't too many ideal high-leverage options to choose from by the time the decisive Ramírez at-bat rolled around.
As for Colomé, the White Sox sure hope the back spasms that bothered him Tuesday night won't continue bothering him. They'll very much need their closer for the five remaining regular-season games, as they try to chase down an AL Central championship, and the playoffs, which begin in a week.
"Right now, in talking to him in the dugout, he said he doesn't think it's going to be anything big," Renteria said. "But he didn't feel good.
"Talked to our trainers, and they said there shouldn't be any concern. But we'll see where he's at tomorrow."