Close games? White Sox cant win them all
White Sox manager Robin Ventura, far left, discusses the situation with A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez, second from right, and Gordon Beckham as they wait for relief pitcher Nate Jones during the seventh inning Saturday night.
Good teams get beat from time to time. Bad teams have a habit of consistently going out and losing.
Enough time has passed this season to put the White Sox in the former category.
They might not be the best team in the majors — or even the American League — but the Sox are obsessed with grinding and are going to fight you more often than not and live with the outcome.
For the second straight night, the White Sox and Angels battled into overtime to determine a winner.
Thanks to a pair of home runs from Alex Rios, including a 2-run shot in the 10th, the Sox won the series opener 8-6.
After a 21-minute rain delay Saturday, starter Gavin Floyd had to throw 41 pitches just to make it out of the first inning, putting the White Sox in a 3-0 hole in the process.
The game could have been over early, but the White Sox battled back behind a pair of Kevin Youkilis home runs and forced extra innings.
This time, they fell short.
Reliever Matt Thornton gave up a two-out double to Alberto Callaspo in the 10th inning and Howie Kendrick followed with a run-scoring single to lift Los Angeles to a 6-5 victory in front of 28,571 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Afterward, the Sox were hardly fazed, even though the second-place Detroit Tigers are only 1½ games off the pace.
"We play a lot of close games," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's not anything new for us. That's just the way we play. We play a lot of close games, and they're not always going to go your way."
Floyd managed to settle down after the rocky first, and the right-hander wound up pitching 6 innings and allowing 5 runs on 8 hits.
"I think at first it was just trying to find things," Floyd said. "Eventually, after many pitches, find a spot you're more comfortable and make a couple adjustments out there and start feeling pretty good.
"Just try to keep battling, try to keep the team in the game and try to win."
After being down 4-0 in the second inning, the White Sox chipped away and pulled into a 5-5 in the seventh inning when Youkilis hit a 2-run homer off LaTroy Hawkins.
"We're in a good spot," second baseman Gordon Beckham said. "We're playing hard, playing the right way. It just didn't work out for us tonight.
"We definitely gave ourselves a chance to win in a game we were behind. We just kept scrapping and kept battling. Next thing you know, we're in extra innings. We gave ourselves a chance, it just didn't work out tonight."
Mike Trout, the Angels' phenomenal center field, robbed Beckham of a home run in the second inning.
In the first two games of the series, the 20-year-old rookie has done it all for L.A. while showing why he is widely regarded as baseball's best player.
"I told him in the one at-bat, 'You're really good, man,'" Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "He does it all. He makes those catches in the outfield look so good. He hits for power; he can run as fast as anyone I've seen in a long time.
"He plays the game right, plays the game hard, has a smile on his face.
"The Angels are lucky to have him. He's one of the best I've seen in a long time."
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