Big deficit doesn't dampen White Sox spirits

Big deficit doesn't dampen White Sox spirits

CHICAGO -- When the White Sox last overcame a seven-plus-run deficit to win a game, per STATS LLC, Jerry Manuel stood as the team's manager, Matt Ginter was the pitcher of record and Paul Konerko hit two home runs during a 13-9 victory over the Cubs on June 28, 2002, after trailing 8-0.

That moment in time held up until their 10-9 victory over the Tigers in 12 innings Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field to open a three-game American League Central series and complete a nine-game homestand. Detroit jumped to a 7-0 lead against James Shields entering the bottom of the third, but the White Sox fought back to tie the game with two runs off Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth and walk it off via Adam Eaton's single to center.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura wasn't around to see the finish, as he was ejected in the seventh inning by home-plate umpire Mark Carlson for arguing balls and strikes. So it was bench coach Rick Renteria who put the exciting victory into postgame context.

Eaton's walk-off single

"They never got down. The whole ballgame they were focused on just trying to chip away," Renteria said. "But they've been doing that all year.

"Honestly, they've been fighting. It didn't surprise anybody that they were still going to try and give you really good at-bats. They did a good job grinding out some at-bats today, and it showed up and we ended being fortunate enough to come out on top."

There were plenty of "you've got to be kidding me" moments to go around for both sides, but there were a few distinct ones that stood out in the White Sox favor. In the ninth inning, with Rodriguez struggling to throw strikes and control his delivery, he still appeared to escape with the save by inducing a Todd Frazier grounder to shortstop Jose Iglesias with one out and runners on first and second.

Iglesias gave a perfect feed to second baseman Ian Kinsler, but Kinsler's throw pulled first baseman Miguel Cabrera off the bag and rendered moot what would have been a close play. After Brett Lawrie's single cut the Tigers' lead to one, Rodriguez jumped ahead of Avisail Garcia at 0-2 in the count and once again appeared poised to get out of the game.

Garcia forced the count full and then ripped a single to center to tie the score at 9.

Garcia's game-tying single

"Yeah, I was trying to protect," Garcia said. "Trying to make contact because you never know what's going to happen. Just try to fight through the at-bat that's very important for the team. I thank God for that hit."

Eaton's walk-off single drove home J.B. Shuck, who doubled off Anibal Sanchez to open the 12th. Shuck moved to third on Tim Anderson's sacrifice and scored a run that the White Sox hope turns around an 8-22 funk that dropped them into fourth place in the division.

"Any walk-off hit in any setting is huge. The way we've been playing, it's even bigger," said Eaton, who had four hits. "The struggles we've had are not fun. I know the fans are upset, and we are too. We don't want to lose and we don't want to struggle. It's a breath of fresh air for us."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.