PHILADELPHIA -- Hector Santiago’s development as a starting pitcher continues to be one of the more pleasant aspects of the first half.
The White Sox pitcher twirled another gem Saturday night against the Philadelphia Phillies. Santiago was long gone by the time the White Sox lost 2-1 in Game 2 but he was outstanding anyway.
Michael Young ended a 3-hour, 53-minute game with a two-out RBI single to right field off Simon Castro as Jimmy Rollins just beat right fielder Casper Wells’ throw with a slide sending the Citizens Bank Park crowd of 43,249 into a frenzy.
Santiago struck out nine over 7 1/3 innings in his 12th start of the season and the 16th of his career.
“He was sharp,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He gives up the one home run. It’s one of those things. We had a lot of opportunities. Their guy just got out of it. We had a guy on third with nobody out. You don’t get it done and it’s just, there’s not a lot of offense. We had a different crew in there, but they were getting a shot.”
All that kept Santiago from a victory – besides more poor output from the White Sox offense -- was a lone mistake to John Mayberry Jr. in the seventh inning, a pitch the reserve outfielder hit for a game-tying solo home run.
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But Santiago otherwise had Phillies hitters guessing all night.
He overpowered them with his fastball and baffled them with his screwball.
Santiago put two on in the second inning but pitched out of trouble and got on a roll.
The left-hander, who has a 3.13 ERA in 69 innings as a starter this season, retired 12 in a row and 15 of 16 before Mayberry homered to left on a curveball that found too much of the zone.
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Even though he ran up his strikeout total, Santiago managed to be efficient after a slow start. He needed 42 pitches to get through the first two innings but only 66 to get the next 16 outs. Santiago did so as he retired the side in order in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings.
As good as Santiago was, Phillies starter John Lannan matched him pitch for pitch.
Facing a lineup full of backups, Lannan pitched his way out of several jams that weren’t of his creation.
Jeff Keppinger reached on an error to start the fourth inning and raced to third when a pickoff attempt by catcher Humberto Quintero wound up in right field. But Lannan struck out Dayan Viciedo, retired Wells on a foul pop out and got Tyler Flowers to ground out.
An inning later, after the White Sox jumped ahead 1-0 on Gordon Beckham’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly, Lannan got out of trouble with a double play out of Keppinger.
He also stranded two on in the first and a man at second in the seventh inning.
Lannan allowed one run and four hits over eight innings.
“I had 6 2/3 good ones and one pitch, I wish I could have that pitch,” Santiago said. “Shorten up the night, but after that, the bullpen kind of shut down the game. I just wanted that one pitch back. But other than I feel like everything was good. All my pitches were working. It was a good night all around.”