The White Sox held off the charging Indians, nursing a 7-0 lead to a heart-stopping 8-6 victory at the Jake. Paul Konerko's three-run shot in the first, a bunch of Podsednik steals, and a solid Javier Vazquez left the White Sox with a 7-1 lead after 6. Brandon McCarthy, however, continued his road woes, loading the bases on a couple of singles and a walk and then watching Travis Hafner his a towering slam just inside the RF foul pole to make it 7-5. Jim Thome drove in Scott Podsednik for an insurance run, but then the Indians rallied to put a couple of men on, drive in a run, and then watch Bobby Jenks blow away the last two hitters (both of whom could have won the game in dramatic fashion with taters) to seal a victory.
From the post-game quotes, it's clear the near-miss left the Indians with a very bad taste in their mouths. Turning a blowout into a close loss envigorates young, on-the-rise teams. It doesn't envigorate contenders, it makes them frustrated. The Indians have a tired bullpen, a catcher who desperately needs a game off, and a rehabbing pitcher starting a noon game against the hottest team in the league. The White Sox are actually favored this morning.
It says something, I think, about Joe Crede's shocking change in performance that he was 1-for-4 with a walk in a game where he was invisible. At .310/.362/.529, he's playing as well or better than we hoped when he was tearing up Winston-Salem almost a decade ago.
Cheat follows the time-honored White Sox fan tradition of picking apart the way the Indians came back to make it "interesting". I've got no quibbles with his observations, but he missed the two critical (as it turned out) outs Boone Logan got in the seventh. After Hafner's slam, Logan came in and shut down the Indian rally in short order, despite facing Martinez and the sickeningly hot Ben Broussard.
It's just hard to say anything negative about a team that's won 17 out of their last 20 games. Since the shocking Saturday, April 8 4-3 loss to the Royals to drop the team to 1-4 (just before I left on an airplane for a quick trip to England), the White Sox have lost once to the Blue Jays and twice to the Mariners. That's it. It would be nice if Brian Anderson and Juan Uribe would start hitting, and if Garcia and Garland would start pitching the way we'd like. But it hasn't really hurt yet.