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South Siders boost extra-innings record

Garcia credits club's confidence late in games for victory

SEATTLE -- Avisail Garcia is just 24 years old, but after the White Sox's 6-3, come-from-behind win in 10 innings against the Mariners on Saturday night, his manager described a player who had grown up, one who is gaining a strong understanding of how to come through in close-and-late situations.

The White Sox sent 14 hitters to the plate between the ninth and 10th innings, turning a 3-1 ninth-inning deficit into their third straight victory. On Saturday they rode the confidence of players like Garcia, who led off the ninth with a single to center and walked with the bases loaded in the 10th to score the go-ahead run.

"It was a big spot, [Garcia] was very patient. Bases loaded right there and not necessarily throwing strikes, you just need to be really patient, get something you really like," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "He's had times where he hasn't been very patient but we've seen some improvement in that."

Chicago is five games under .500, but has thrived in extra-inning games this season, winning 11 times in 14 chances. In the 10th inning Saturday, that confidence was on display as Garcia used his own scouting report to his advantage. He knew Mariners reliever Danny Farquhar would try to nibble and get him to chase, but he stayed patient, taking four straight balls to put his team ahead.

"No doubt about it, you've got more experience with what they're going to do to you," Garcia said. "Just looking for a good pitch to hit and don't try to do too much because nobody out, you want to put the ball in the air to drive in one run."

That confidence in extras stems, in part, from the team's past success in those situations, and in part, because that success has come from many bats on any given night. Seven players reached base and four players drove in a run during the game's final two innings.

"It's always a boost to tie it up, and to finish it off is important, too," Ventura said. "It's one thing to just come back and tie it up, it's another thing --- these guys feel like if you get to extra innings we're going to win it with the bullpen."

The White Sox also knew they had a chance if they got deep into the Mariners' shaky bullpen. They chased closer Carson Smith with two big ninth-inning hits and allowed Farquhar and Edgar Olmos to beat themselves to continue their late-inning winning ways.

"We've had a lot of experience in extra innings this year and close, late ballgames so I think it's positive," said Adam LaRoche, who drove in the tying run on a groundout to first in the ninth. "Fortunately we got to the bullpen and did some damage late and pushed some runs across."

Andrew Erickson is an associate reporter for
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