The offense got off to a positive start Wednesday afternoon, as Jeff Keppinger followed up Alejandro De Aza's leadoff walk and stolen base with an RBI single to left center field. But then, Alex Rios quickly grounded into a double 6-4-3 double play, which was a sign of more to come … at least for a little while.
In the third and fourth innings, the team had two on, one out situations which they quickly squandered. But then in the fifth inning, after two quick outs, Jeff Keppinger singled to extend the inning and was brought home when Alex Rios hit his sixth home run of the season.
It was the 148th home run of his career (pictured rounding first base above – H/T AP), for those who were wondering.
But even though it was nice to see the offense looking half-way capable, the story line of the game was quickly shaping up to be Jose Quintana, who worked perfect 1-2-3 innings through four of the first five. But then he hit the wall that he likes to run into once in a while.
He started off the top of the sixth inning by issuing a dreaded leadoff walk before Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis singled. He was then taken out with a final line of 5+ innings pitched while walking two, letting up four hits and two runs, and striking out three Indians hitters.
That second run came off of a Mark Reynolds RBI sacrifice fly after Nate Jones came in to relieve Jose. And Nate did a nice job of pitching two innings while keeping the Sox in front, 3-2 before it was Matt Thornton's turn to take over.
And despite some you-know-what'ing and moaning on Twitter, 'Matty Ice' did his job, retiring Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis before Jesse Crain came on and struck out Mark Reynolds.
So finally, Addison Reed was getting another chance to close out a game.
Before that, the White Sox quickly spoiled a golden opportunity to score in the bottom of the eight inning. Adam Dunn's third walk of the afternoon (matching his season total) and Paul Konerko getting hit by a pitch put runners on first and second with nobody out. A Conor Gillaspie strikeout and Alexei Ramirez double play get the Tribe through that though.
I wouldn't have expected anything else. So back to Reed.
Thus far on the season, Reed had appeared in eight games, tossing exactly eight innings while only letting up three hits and one earned run. His 0.75 ERA and 1.13 ERA spoke volumes to how good he's been.
Today was more of the same for our young closer.
After getting Nick Swisher and Ryan Raburn quickly, Mike Aviles singled up the middle to put the tying run on base. But then a Lonnie Chisenhall rocket up the middle was stopped beautifully by Alexei at short stop, as he tossed it over to Keppinger at first to end the game.
It was nice to see the Sox win a game that was close all the way, even though the offense wasn't as good as it had to be. Too many opportunities were spoiled, but enough were converted to get the win … and in the game of baseball, you just have to take what you get.
Tomorrow the White Sox welcome the pesky Tampa Bay Rays to town, in what should be a very good pitching matchup: Jeremy Hellickson v. Chris Sale.
But as always, Matt Hoeppner will have much more in the series preview coming soon on GrabSomeBench.com, stay tuned …