Round 1 to the Sox, Bullpen Shines
To state the obvious, one of the true indicators of a contending team is a strong bullpen. Whether it’s a group of relievers piecing the game together or the closer shutting the door after a starter’s eight-inning effort, it’s a sight to behold when it works.
And last night it was a thing of beauty for the White Sox as they defeated the Cubs, 4-3, and won their 17th consecutive interleague series.
Jake Peavy was solid, especially for his first start after returning from the DL. Offensively, the highlights were A.J. Pierzynski‘s two-run triple and Brent Lillibridge‘s suicide squeeze that scored A.J. But to me, the bullpen succession of Chris Sale, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton and closer Sergio Santos was the most satisfying part of the victory.
- Sale relieved Peavy with two outs in the sixth and got out of a jam by getting the dangerous Starlin Castro to ground out to third. The lefty returned in the seventh and ended the inning by striking out Alfonso Soriano.
- Crain came on in the eighth with an inherited runner, Tony Campana, who eventually reached third with one out via a stolen base and ground out. Crain proceeded to strike out Koyie Hill before Thornton came on to stifle the rally by striking out Kosuke Fukodome.
- Santos closed out his 14th save in impressive style by retiring Castro on a groundout and striking out two legit power threats–Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena, who homered in each game of the series.