Chicago White Sox

Sweepless in Seattle as Jenks blows another save

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Sweepless in Seattle as Jenks blows another save

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Updated: 2:28 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

SEATTLE You cant dwell on days like this. You cant dwell on them.

As much as Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks admitted struggling to find good answers to his horrific week out of the bullpen, its this mantra, along with the image of his head in hands in front of his locker, that resounds.

Jenks lost his second game in relief in the last four days, spoiling an apparent 11th-inning win by surrendering a one-out, two-run single to Franklin Gutierrez that gave the Seattle Mariners a 2-1 win on Wednesday night.

After the game, a distressed Ozzie Guillen declared the closers role open and that the team would finish games based on situational matchups for the time being.

I get paid to win games, the White Sox manager said. Im going to put the guys out there who have the best shot. Were a better ballclub with Bobby as closer. But we have a few options, and were going to see what those options are.

Omar Vizquels single with two out in the top of the 11th gave the White Sox their brief 1-0 lead. Mariners shortstop Jack Wilson led off the bottom half with a perfect bunt single and was moved to second on an Ichiro Suzuki sacrifice. Chone Figgins smacked a sharp single and stole second to put the winning runs in scoring position when Gutierrez stroked the game-winner.

I feel strong. Things just didnt work out today, Jenks said. Sunday in Minnesota, that was on me. Today I felt good and made pitches.

With this one, theres nothing to do about it. Wilsons bunt hit to start off the inning was goodthe pitch was down, he just put it in the right spot. The ball to Figgins I got in on him, he kept his hands inside well and hit the ball back up the middlehe didnt hit it hard. Gutierrezs base hit, if Alexei Ramirez was playing over it probably would have been right at him.

Before the 11th-inning heroics on both sides, Seattle and Chicago were embroiled in a deliciously swift pitchers duel.

Chisox starter Gavin Floyd pitched seven scoreless innings, notching six Ks against just one walk and five hits. The hurler had just one true close call, coming in the fourth, when Casey Kotchman clocked a Floyd flip down the right-field line that landed a wisp foul. One pitch later, the stalwart righty punched the first baseman out for his second K of the game, ending the inning. Floyd seemingly got stronger as the game went on, striking out the side in the sixth.

Seattle starter Felix Hernandez you know is going to go out there and pitch a good game, Floyd said. Youve just got to focus on what you can to try to do your job.

Until Floyds final inning, Seattle had been stymied by White Sox pitching; in the 16 innings in the series leading up to the Mariners seventh, Chicago had held its opponent to just five hits.

Hernandez was even more masterful than Floyd, using just 93 pitches to cruise through eight innings of two-hit ball. The King retired the last 17 White Sox he faced.

Thats fun to watch; thats good baseball, Guillen said. Unfortunately, we finished like that.

Chicago rallied in the ninth, as Juan Pierre turned a HBP into a double with a stolen baseagain employing his swim technique. But after a walk to Vizquel, both Alex Rios and Paul Konerko failed to push Pierre home.

In the bottom of the ninth, Seattles streak of 25 scoreless innings in the seriesyes, theyd scored their only run in the first inning of the openerwas extended in a most unorthodox manner. An infield hit by Figgins (sacrificed to second by third-place hitter Gutierrez) and an intentional walk to Jose Lopez put two runners on with one out. Chisox reliever Sergio Santos coaxed a broken bat from Milton Bradley that blooped dangerously to right, but former Gold Glover Andruw Jones made an outstanding diving catch and instantaneous whirl to first to double off Lopez.

Indicative of the fact that Seattles baserunning is nearly as bad as its hitting, Lopezs run was meaningless. In Little League, you might go without postgame treats for such a gaffe.

Both teams went out meekly in the 10th, White Sox reliever Erick Threets striking out the side in the bottom half. Threets was in position for his first major-league victory prior to Seattles comeback on Jenks.

With one out in the 11th, Gordon Beckham jumped on a Brandon League pitch and left it just five feet short of a tiebreaking homer. But Bacon settled for a double, advancing to third on Pierres fly to right and setting up Vizquels apparent game-winner.

We had some breaks today and thought wed pull it together and win it, so obviously, you want to win these games, Floyd said. But there a lot of season left.

Theres no lost faith in here, said Santos, who pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless baseball. You put this behind you. We have all the faith in the world in Bobby. Thats just the way pitching is.

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

Tim Anderson wanted chance to lift White Sox to victory

Tim Anderson wanted chance to lift White Sox to victory

Tim Anderson has dealt with so many teachable moments this season that an enjoyable one was long overdue.

It arrived in the form of several freezing cold Gatorade showers late Wednesday night following the first walkoff hit of the White Sox shortstop’s career. Grinding through the final six weeks of a sophomore slump, Anderson shook off three hitless at-bats to single in the game-winning run and set off a raucous celebration as the White Sox topped the Minnesota Twins 4-3 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Anderson’s game-winner off Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger was set up an inning earlier when rookie Yoan Moncada doubled in the tying run while batting right-handed against Taylor Rogers.

“I think it’s a big lift,” Renteria said. “We were talking about how they were trying to be able to do something with the secondary pitches. Obviously, they did both. Obviously, it’s a confidence builder, both of them getting big hits, one to tie and one to go ahead. We were sitting in there today in the last at-bat going, ‘Man, we really want this for Timmy right here.’ Big situation, see how he does and fortunately he was able to get it through the infield.”

Renteria and the coaching staff weren’t the only ones who wanted to see how Anderson would fare in the moment. The second-year player had a sense from the dugout how it all would play out after Avisail Garcia led off the inning with a single to right field. Renteria had Kevan Smith bunt Garcia into scoring position, which led to an intentional walk of Yolmer Sanchez. Sanchez’s free pass brought up Anderson, who had one hit in his last 20 at-bats, including a bases-loaded strikeout in Tuesday’s loss.

“I wanted that moment,” Anderson said.

Before the game, Anderson had a lengthy conversation in the tunnel between the clubhouse and the dugout with hitting coach Todd Steverson. Anderson said much of the discussion surrounded his season and the ways he could benefit from everything he has endured.

Anderson struggled early this season and then battled some more as he dealt with the sudden death of close friend Branden Moss, who was killed in May while trying to help an assault victim. With the help of a counselor, Anderson began to rebound in August, posting a .976 OPS in the first 16 games of the month.

He followed that with another downturn that carried into Wednesday’s game.

“We really were just figuring out who I am and kind of learning from this year,” Anderson said of his discussion with Steverson. “Talking overall about everything that has been going on this year and kind of how I’m maturing as a hitter, just to really get better.”

Anderson shook off three hitless at-bats when he stepped up in the ninth. He had struck out on three pitches in the third inning before, grounded out in the fifth and popped out on the first pitch he saw with the tying run aboard in the seventh.

But Anderson made sure none of that mattered in the ninth.

After he took a first-pitch changeup for a ball, Anderson ripped Hildenberger’s next offering, which caught too much of the plate, into the hole. Running all the way, Garcia raced home and scored when Eddie Rosario’s throw went offline. White Sox players then chased down Anderson and Jose Abreu dropped a full bucket of Gatorade on Anderson’s head with the help of Sanchez, who held him in place.

“I put the first three at-bats behind me and came up big,” Anderson said. “It was an exciting moment. I’m going to enjoy it and wear it until tomorrow.”

Ditto for Moncada, who produced only his second extra-base hit from the right side all season long. While Moncada entered the contest with an .886 OPS against right-handed pitching, he had just a .327 OPS against southpaws. But Moncada took advantage of Leury Garcia’s one-out double even after he fell behind in the count 0-2. Moncada worked the count even, fouled off a fastball and then ripped a curve from Rogers inside the third-base line to tie the game.

“I like the pressure,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “I like being in some at-bats with the game on the line, because that’s something that you can change the course of the game. I like to be that guy, and I like to be the guy to help to win games. I like to get those chances.”

WATCH: Tim Anderson records first career walk-off hit in White Sox win over Twins

WATCH: Tim Anderson records first career walk-off hit in White Sox win over Twins

Wednesday night featured another edition of #RICKYSBOYSDONTQUIT, and a rally unicorn!

Tim Anderson completed the White Sox comeback by recording his first career walk-off hit — a single — in a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field.

With the White Sox trailing 3-2 in the eighth inning, Yoan Moncada tied the game with an RBI double.

In the ninth, Avisail Garcia opened the inning with a single. Kevan Smith's sac bunt moved Garcia to second and Yolmer Sanchez was intentionally walked. 

With two on and one out, Anderson hit a grounder past the shortstop and the 26-year-old All-Star got on his high horse to come around and score, securing the White Sox 49th win of the season.

The comeback actually started with the presence of a rally unicorn, when the South Siders were down 3-2 in the eighth.

Hands down, the rally unicorn beats any rally animal.

And get that girl some season tickets, White Sox.