PHILADELPHIA -- Alexei Ramirez made up for an early mistake late.
The shortstop matched a career-high with four hits when he doubled home the go-ahead run in the 11th inning and the White Sox downed the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 in Game 1 of a doubleheader in front of 41, 562 at Citizens Bank Park.
Addison Reed pitched out of a jam to close out a third White Sox victory in four games for his 24th save in 28 tries. Ramirez finished 4-for-6 with two singles, two doubles and an RBI as he raised his average to .289.
“Earlier in the game, he pulled one and got one in the gap,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Now he’s going the other way. Again, he’s been swinging it great. This last stretch he’s had, he’s making solid contact and very aggressive at the plate.”
Ramirez had a pretty strong afternoon prior to his two-out double off J.C. Ramirez (0-1), but it wasn’t quite perfect.
His base running mistake in the first inning seemed to stunt what could have been a fortuitous opening. Instead of having runners on the corners with no outs, Ramirez was caught in a rundown between first and second after he singled. The White Sox then failed to bring Alejandro De Aza in from third.
The run played an important role when the White Sox couldn’t hold a one-run late and headed to extra innings.
But Ramirez came through in the 11th after Alejandro De Aza’s two-out triple to left center. He drilled a 0-1 fastball from Phillies reliever J.C. Ramirez into the gap in right-center to break a 3-all tie.
Though Ramirez hasn’t hit for power, he has made himself a valuable hitter with an up-the-middle approach and by taking advantage of his speed.
In his last 29 games, Ramirez has a .344/.354/.448 slash line. With 19 steals in 23 tries, Ramirez is also one steal shy of tying a career best.
“Lately I’ve been doing a lot of work with Manto and Harold helping him,” Ramirez said. “I feel good right now and the work is paying off.”
The White Sox had pushed across three runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 3-2 lead but starter John Danks couldn’t hold on.
The left-hander allowed three hits in the first inning and fell behind 2-0. But from there he put up three 1-2-3 innings and pitched out of two jams with relative ease.
Danks, who has walked one or fewer batters in all but one start this season, got the heart of the Phillies order in the third inning after Ben Revere and Rollins singled with one out. Michael Young grounded out to the catcher and All-Star Domonic Brown flew out to center field. An inning later, Danks induced an inning-ending double play off the bat of Carlos Ruiz.
But Danks didn’t escape the seventh inning. He allowed a game-tying solo home run to Darin Ruf and exited after a one-out single.
Danks allowed three earned runs and eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
“I felt I could make pitches, throw the ball where I wanted to throw it,” Danks said. “For whatever reason, there would be spurts in there where I ‘d lose it for a second. All in all, stuff felt good and I felt healthy and we got a win.”
The White Sox bullpen pitched out of several jams to extend the game to the 11th. In its first day without Matt Thornton, both Nate Jones and Ramon Troncoso (1-2) pitched out of what appeared to be unwinnable situations. Jones had runners on second and third and no outs in the ninth but didn’t allow a run and Troncoso stranded two runners in the 10th.
The game was delayed for 41 minutes by rain.