Big chill: Alexei motors home on walk-off error
Dunn takes Peavy deep; Johnson fans nine batters over 6 2/3 frames
CHICAGO --- There's just something about Alexei Ramirez and game-winning plays the past few days. The man they call the Cuban Missile might get a new nickname: late-game Alexei.
Ramirez scored the game-winning run on a throwing error by Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts as the Chicago White Sox won their second consecutive game on a game-ending play, 2-1, Tuesday night at U.S Cellular Field.
Ramirez played the role of hero for the second straight game after hitting a two-run, walk-off home run to beat the Indians on Sunday.
"First of all, very, very happy that that happened," he said through translator and manager of cultural development Lino Diaz. "It's something that is very collective, it's a lot of people that's involved in it, and that's very good. The best thing is we're looking to win and we are winning. We've got a lot of guys playing well, so that's a good thing."
Ramirez singled with one out in the ninth off Boston reliever Burke Badenhop, extending his hitting streak to 14 games, which is just one off Frank Thomas's franchise record for a hitting streak to start a season. Ramirez moved to second two batters later when Adam Eaton walked off lefty Chris Capuano.
Marcus Semien then hit a grounder up the middle that Bogaerts scooped up while ranging to his left. His throw was in the dirt and couldn't be dug out by Mike Carp, who entered as a defensive replacement for the injured Mike Napoli to start the inning, and Ramirez raced home from second.
"I knew it was going to bounce, definitely," Bogaerts said. "It took a weird hop also, but as I said, I should've thrown that ball right in the chest to Carp and gone into extra innings."
Semien almost didn't get the opportunity to put the ball in play. He check swung at a 2-2 pitch from Capuano but was ruled to not have broken the plane. The Red Sox wanted a strike called regardless of the swing call on what was a very close pitch.
"No, I didn't think I swung," said Semien. "I looked back and saw how A.J. [Pierzynski] caught it, and he made it look like a pretty good pitch. I think they were mad about it not being a strike. But I just made it to the next pitch, and after that we won the game."
Daniel Webb picked up his first Major League win in relief, needing just one pitch to retire Carp in the top of the inning with two runners on. Webb finished a string of zeroes put up by the White Sox bullpen, which had certainly taken its lumps entering the series. Chicago's bullpen entered the game with baseball's worst ERA at 6.93, but Scott Downs, Jake Petricka, Donnie Veal and Webb combined to hold the Red Sox hitless over the final 2 1/3 innings.
Before that, rookie Erik Johnson went pitch-for-pitch with Jake Peavy in the Boston right-hander's homecoming to the south side.
"It was nice," Ventura said of the bullpen's effort. "It started off with Erik. He was as good as he's pitched this year. Sharp and ball is coming out with life. The bullpen coming in and doing what they did, you know that's what you are looking for. It was sharp. Downsie came in and did his job. Everyone came in and did the job. They give you an opportunity to score runs."
In the second inning, more replay controversy occurred. Jose Abreu was called out on a play in which Napoli dug a throw out of the dirt in plenty of time, but it appeared as though Napoli's foot might have been off the bag. Ventura challenged the play, but the call stood, meaning there wasn't conclusive evidence to overturn. It ultimately cost the White Sox a run.
"I'm not doing too good on those," said Ventura of replay challenges. "But you look at the replay, you see what you see on the field. ... I haven't seen the replay yet.
"But I know what I see on the field and then what everyone else sees on the replay. Having trust in it is getting pretty hard right now. Even looking around the league, it's a coin toss if you are going out there."
One batter later, Adam Dunn bested his former teammate and good friend, launching a 2-2 fastball just over the wall in right to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. It was the 443rd home run of Dunn's career, giving him sole possession of 38th on the all-time list.
"First of all, you haven't checked the numbers, because I have no bragging right against him," said Dunn of Peavey. "But yeah, that was a good win and seemed like we kind of let him off the hook in the second and third inning, and whenever you let a guy like that who's got stuff like he's got off the hook, it can be a long night -- and it was for the most part."
Peavy settled down after that, pitching out of jams in the fourth and sixth. The White Sox, meanwhile, failed to capitalize on a pair of scoring opportunities.
After Dunn walked with one out in the fourth, Peavy twice threw over to first when Dunn -- who isn't exactly known for his running ability -- was no more than two feet away from the bag. Much of the crowd was not amused. Afterwards, Dunn was.
"I don't know what he was doing, actually," Dunn said. "That was interesting but -- I don't know, I don't know. I'm always in the stands or looking at something, so he probably assumed that I wasn't paying attention and get a cheap one."
Daniel Nava evened the score in the fourth, blasting a 3-1 fastball left up by Johnson deep into the right-field seats. It was the only major mistake made by Johnson, who allowed one run on just three hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out a career-high nine while walking two.
"Tonight it was a good outing," Johnson said. "I was glad I could go that deep for my team. I was really able to throw my pitches for strikes, throw all four for strikes and I was spotting my fastball pretty well. It was a good one to have in your back pocket and to build off for the next one."