The Chicago White Sox lead all of baseball with 46 runs (0.62 runs per 9th inning) in the ninth inning during the 2014 season.
On Friday night, the White Sox added two more to that total and had the possibility of more until a double play ended a furious ninth-inning rally. Trailing 4-2 heading to the ninth inning, Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins headed to the mound to finish off the game for the second straight night.
Before Friday, Perkins was 18-for-20 in save opportunities for the Twins. But, as the White Sox have shown throughout 2014, their new-found “never say die” attitude is the real deal.
Alexei Ramirez led off the inning with a pop-out to Perkins. Dayan Viciedo put the White Sox in prime position to trim the Minnesota lead after a triple. Paul Konerko pinch-hit for Alejandro De Aza and singled home Viciedo to cut the Twins lead to 4-3.
After Moises Sierra came in to pinch-run for Konerko, catcher Tyler Flowers singled up the middle. Leury Garcia would pinch-run for Flowers and then Adam Eaton delivered yet another huge hit in his string of hot hitting. Eaton’s double tied the game. Perkins intentionally walked Gordon Beckham to load the bases for Conor Gillaspie.
With the White Sox in a perfect position to steal a division game on the road, Gillaspie grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Talk about a buzz-kill.
All-Star candidate Brian Dozier singled off Belisario to left field and then the fun began. After a good throw from Viciedo (who moved to left field before the bottom of the ninth began), former White Sox infielder Eduardo Escobar slid past Adrian Nieto at the plate and the Twins won their third game in five meeting this season with the White Sox, 5-4.
White Sox Notes:
- El Oso. Jose Abreu rocked his 21st home run of the season in the first inning on Friday night. With the first-inning blast, Abreu tied Alexei Ramirez on the White Sox all-time list for most home runs by a rookie. Through 74 games, Abreu is hitting .268 with 21 home runs and 54 runs batted in.
- Adam Eaton has been on a tear in his last 10 games. Not only has Eaton raised his batting average from .255 to .276, he’s had five mulit-hit games and walked seven times. Hawk Harrelson‘s nickname of “the White Sox spark plug” has been making perfect sense.