The White Sox still don't seem to know if they are coming or going with regard to challenging in the American League Central.
Chances are they will be on the outside come crunch time in late September. Barring possible significant personnel moves through waiver transactions, the Sox will have to fend for themselves as currently constituted.
Friday night the Sox did their best to outlast the Twins on an evening when All-Star pitcher Chris Sale was not at his best. Sale gave up five runs (four earned), all in the third inning, before exiting after six innings with a one-run lead in a game the Sox eventually had to rally to win 10-8.
"He was all over the place. He really didn't have command of anything," manager Robin Ventura said of Sale. "His pitch count got up real high (107). They worked him over in that inning by getting into good hitter's counts. That's an off night for him. At least the offense came back and helped him out."
The Sox have won six of their last eight. Javy Guerra was credited with the victory and Jake Petricka picked up his seventh save.
The Twins tied the game 6-6 on an RBI single from Kurt Suzuki in the seventh, then took a 7-6 lead on Chris Parmelee's home run in the eighth.
The Sox answered in the bottom of the eighth with four runs on six hits to re-take the lead at 10-7. They finished the night with 17 hits, including three from Jose Abreu as he extended his hitting streak to 21 games.
"Everyone had one (clutch hit), it seemed like tonight," Ventura said.
Ventura says he is not preoccupied with checking the current standings as the Sox try to creep toward the .500 mark.
"You can, but in the end it doesn't do you any good to start looking at the standings," he said before the game. "Guys … especially the way you're playing right now … just keep doing what you're doing."
Rick Hahn said the Sox were close on a three-team trade Thursday before coming up empty at the trade deadline.
If the unspecified deal had come to fruition, Hahn said Friday, it "would have wound up netting us such a piece, a guy who had been a target for awhile, but for whatever reason it fell apart about 1 p.m. (Thursday) and then it was fairly quiet after that till the deadline passed (at 3)."
Ventura knows the lack of trade action this week was not for lack of effort.
"If there was something to be done that Rick felt was right, then he would have done it. This is where we're at and we're moving on," Ventura said.
Hahn said he is constantly on a mission to improve the quality of his team.
"I would probably characterize feelings as mildly disappointed, simply because of our history," Hahn said.
"We've shown a desire to make trades and we would have loved the opportunity … to continue the process we started a year ago of adding key pieces in this sort of restructuring or retooling or whatever you want to call it."
The Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second inning Friday on a Moises Sierra RBI triple and Adam Eaton's bunt single to tally Sierra.
But the Twins scored five in the third after collecting five straight hits, including two doubles.
"Just how we drew it up," Sale said facetiously. "It was a little bit of everybody. Everybody in the lineup got a hit today, which is awesome. Scoring runs early, scoring runs late and in between. This team never quit fighting especially when I put us in a pretty good hole right there. We never quit battling and put some good at-bats together and some runs on the board and its always nice to see."
Conor Gillaspie drove in a run with a double in the third to pull the Sox within 5-3 and they picked up another run in the fourth on Abreu's RBI single.
"He's in a zone right now," Ventura said of Abreu, who is hitting .411 (23-for-56) during his hitting streak. "Anything you throw up there, I think he is going to hit hard. He's as hot as anybody in the "league."
Tyler Flowers hit his seventh homer in the fifth to tie the game 5-5. And Alexei Ramirez hit a two-out, RBI double in the sixth to put the Sox ahead 6-5.
"They've been fighting like this for awhile," Ventura said of the Sox 23rd comeback win of the season. "I think offensively just grinding out at-bats and being able to put it together … even if you get down, they're still feeling like they have a shot. As soon as a guy gets on, they feel like stuff is going to happen. That's the good stuff ... it becomes a bit contagious."
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