video thumbnail

CWS@LAA: White Sox drop a heartbreaker on walk-off

ANAHEIM -- In the game of baseball, it's often said that every team wins 60 games and loses 60 games over the course of a 162-game ledger. But it's how a group survives those remaining 42 deciding its ultimate outcome.

For the 2011 White Sox, who dropped a 5-4 decision to the Angels before 37,728 at Angel Stadium Tuesday, those remaining 42 games are starting to play like a painful punch in the gut almost every time the opposition's winning run crosses the plate.

"It seems like we've played 80 of those 40," White Sox captain Paul Konerko said, after his team watched Mike Scioscia's crew walk off in the ninth. "Yeah, I mean, we play a lot of low-scoring games, so it wears on you."

Konerko's single to right off of Angels starter Ervin Santana with two outs in the eighth inning truly stood out as the highlight of this contest for the visitors. It not only brought home the tying run in Alejandro De Aza, who singled with two outs and nobody on base and then swiped second, but it also held up as Konerko's 2,000th career hit.

In becoming the 13th player to reach 2,000 hits while wearing a White Sox uniform, and first since Jim Thome on July 20, 2008, against the Royals, Konerko produced hit No. 1,952 as part of the White Sox. And just like most of the things accomplished by Konerko during his South Side tenure, it was meaningful in the context of the game.

The only problem was the White Sox couldn't turn Konerko's piece of history into a victory celebration.

"We definitely want to end it in winning fashion. But it is what it is," Konerko said. "You know, I'm one of those guys where round numbers are nice and all, but you are always thinking about the next one."

"They're frustrating because obviously we need to win," said White Sox starter Mark Buehrle, who worked six innings and finished with a no-decision. "You look up there early and see that Detroit won. We had to win the game just to stay on pace. Obviously we have to come back tomorrow and keep on battling."

Jim Leyland's Tigers (70-58), who are starting to show their first-place mettle on a daily basis, held on for a 2-1 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field. The Indians (63-63) split a doubleheader with the Mariners, meaning the White Sox (63-64) sit in third place and 6 1/2 games out of the American League Central's top spot.

The deficit marks the furthest they've been out of first place since falling seven games back on June 5.

While Konerko carved another notch in his White Sox legacy, it was the lightning-fast Peter Bourjos who ended up stealing the show. Bourjos scored from first on Torii Hunter's two-out single to left in the opening frame, with Juan Pierre getting charged with an error when he tried to hurry the play.

"Bourjos is running well," Scioscia said. "So when Torii got that hit, Pierre needed to try and rush to get him and he missed the ball."

That moment of acceleration was not Bourjos' top highlight.

Jason Frasor (3-3) was touched for one-out singles by Erick Aybar and pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo in the bottom of the ninth, sending the winning run to third. When second baseman Gordon Beckham left the base on Callaspo's single to left, he easily cruised into second.

Ozzie Guillen was forced to walk Maicer Izturis to load the bases for Bourjos. After a mound meeting to remind everyone Bourjos was not a player easily doubled up, Bourjos dispensed with the dramatics by singling to left against a drawn-in infield.

"I was getting ahead of those guys [in the ninth] and wasn't able to put them away, not being able to come up with the third strike or put-away pitch," Frasor said. "That's what it came down to."

"Close ones are tough here," Konerko said. "We felt like especially after we tied it, the momentum was there. But it wasn't like it was a couple of base hits and that's all it takes with these guys."

After spotting the Angels a 2-0 lead, the White Sox drew even against Santana with two runs in the third. Beckham doubled home Brent Morel, who reached on a one-out single, and De Aza's single scored Beckham.

Los Angeles reclaimed the lead against Buehrle via Hunter's single to plate Izturis in the third. And a short, fourth-inning sacrifice fly to center from Aybar, scoring Howard Kendrick, who tripled to lead off the frame after homering to start the second, was enough to send Buehrle out of the game on the short end of the score.

Buehrle allowed three earned runs on seven hits, fanning two and walking one. As has been the case for most of the year, the White Sox had chances to score more but couldn't come up with the big hit.

Alex Rios doubled and Alexei Ramirez walked to open the fourth, but Adam Dunn hit into a double play and Tyler Flowers struck out. Flowers reached on a one-out single in the seventh, but tried to go from first to third on Morel's slow roller to Kendrick. Morel was nailed at first, and Mark Trumbo's throw to Izturis barely got Flowers for the third out.

"Bad baserunning," said Guillen, chalking up Flowers' play to a youthful mistake. "You don't want to make third out at third base."

Nailing Kendrick at the plate on Vernon Wells' sixth-inning double kept the White Sox within one. Ultimately, it just delayed the inevitable -- a fate the White Sox hope won't happen with their playoff push.

MLB.com Comments