CHICAGO -- Just when the White Sox looked pretty much out of postseason contention … OK, let's be honest. At eight games back of Cleveland in the American League Central and 6 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays for the AL's second Wild Card slot, the White Sox certainly have their
CHICAGO -- Just when the White Sox looked pretty much out of postseason contention … OK, let's be honest. At eight games back of Cleveland in the American League Central and 6 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays for the AL's second Wild Card slot, the White Sox certainly have their fair share of work ahead.
They are more likely to be sellers than buyers with 63 games to play and the non-waiver Trade Deadline less than a week away.
But with a 5-4 victory over the Cubs on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field before a sellout crowd of 39,510, the White Sox picked up more than their third straight victory. They produced their third straight walk-off victory, giving hope and more than a little momentum.
"Oh, it's huge," said White Sox reliever Dan Jennings, who blew the save in the top of the ninth but earned the win. "I don't think you can get more momentum than that."
It was the first time the White Sox have won on three straight walk-offs since Aug. 4-6, 1962.
"It's a morale booster for sure, and it's just good baseball," said White Sox second baseman Tyler Saladino, who delivered the game-winning single off of Mike Montgomery. "We've battled every single game we're in."
"We've been all over the place, but these guys are resilient, they fight back," manager Robin Ventura said. "They come every day to play hard. You need some stuff to go your way, and I think tonight is one of those."
Behind a quality starting effort from Miguel González, the White Sox built up a 4-0 lead over the National League Central leaders going into the seventh. Javier Báez's two-run shot in the seventh cut the lead in half, and with the bullpen short Nate Jones and closer David Robertson due to their recent workload, the Cubs managed to tie the game with two runs in the ninth off of Matt Albers and Jennings.
Credit goes to Jennings, who allowed the game-tying single to Anthony Rizzo, but with two on and two out, struck out the struggling Jason Heyward with a fastball out of the zone on a 3-2 pitch.
Ventura pointed out things going the White Sox way, and one of those things was Melky Cabrera firing a strike to Saladino at second to nail Kris Bryant on an ill-advised attempt to stretch a single and give the White Sox a much-needed out in the ninth.
This White Sox bullpen has been overworked, in general, because of its need to pick up Saturday's contest with Chris Sale being scratched and eventually suspended five games for insubordination, violating team rules and destroying team equipment. Yet, the White Sox keep fighting, hoping one of their long-shot opportunities becomes a playoff reality.
"We sure would like to win by five or six, but with the way we've been going, we'll take any win we can get," said White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier, who hit a three-run home run off of Jake Arrieta. "Eventually, ride that horse and keep on rolling and start winning games without walk-offs. We'll see how that goes but it's a lot of fun. We're getting back in that fun zone again."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.