Robertson bounces back as expected
After rough ninth on Friday, closer preserves lead in final inning Saturday
CHICAGO -- By the time David Robertson finished dinner late Friday night, the White Sox closer already had forgotten about the gut-wrenching ninth inning that cost the team and ace-hurler Chris Sale a victory.
Robertson certainly looked to be featuring a short memory Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field when he cruised through the ninth inning on five pitches and preserved a 3-2 victory over the Rangers. The White Sox (29-38) watched an eight-game losing streak come to an end with the breaks going their way for the first time in 10 days, as Robertson expertly applied the finishing touches by slicing through the middle of the Rangers' order.
"Yesterday is gone," said a smiling Robertson, whose 14th save this season and 61st of his career featured a Prince Fielder strikeout and two popouts. "Obviously, it's a lot easier to talk to you guys now since we won the game and I didn't screw up. It was nice to get a win tonight."
"That's the characteristic you have to have to be a good closer," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers of Robertson. "Forget about it pretty quick, come out and do what he did today."
While Robertson exorcised Friday's demons, even retiring Mitch Moreland for the second out in the ninth, it was the White Sox bullpen as a whole that preserved Carlos Rodon's solid work over six innings. Zach Putnam struck out the side in the seventh and Zach Duke fanned two in the eighth to give way to Robertson.
Moreland's two-out single in the sixth served as the Rangers' last baserunner. Aside from a few blips, the bullpen has been a definitive White Sox strong suit. That unit gets even stronger with Putnam effectively joining Duke and Jake Petricka in the setup role.
"Yeah, Putnam and Duke were really good today," Robertson said. "They were filthy and got the job done. Thankfully, I was able to hold it down."
"With Put being able to mix in with Jake, you're getting through that seventh, and I think with Dukie getting in there, he was really crisp today," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He had a real good feel for his slider, and those lefties they have over there are tough. You have to have somebody to limit them and control them, and they did a good job."
There wasn't exactly pressure on Robertson to protect that slim ninth-inning lead, helping the White Sox improve to 12-12 in one-run games this season. No more pressure than usual, that is, regardless of what happened last night for the veteran who relieved parts of seven years for the Yankees and followed legend Mariano Rivera into the closer's role.
"As a reliever, you are going to get opportunities," Robertson said. "You are not always going to be good in them. You have to be able to push them to the back of your mind and go into the next day. You are not going to be perfect every time. It's hard. You can't let the game eat you up, so to speak."