Frazier sets RISP issues aside with clutch hits

White Sox third baseman singles in tying, winning runs

Frazier sets RISP issues aside with clutch hits

CHICAGO -- Todd Frazier entered Thursday's series opener with the Mariners hitting .159 (17-for-107) with runners in scoring position this season.

It was a dismal statistic that the third baseman recently pointed to as the greatest blight on his first season in Chicago. So of course it was Frazier who emerged as the driving force in the South Siders' 7-6 walk-off comeback win at U.S. Cellular Field.

And Frazier did the job by hitting with runners in scoring position during the seventh inning to tie the game and in the ninth to win it. These moments were especially big for Frazier after striking out in his first three at-bats.

Frazier's clutch offensive night

"Like I said, you learn something," Frazier said. "You take the last at-bat and throw it away and just keep on going. Unfortunately it took me three times to do that. To come up clutch today felt pretty good."

"You can't rely just on the homer. There's more to his game than that," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Frazier. "You have to be able to knock in runs when you're not hitting them over the fence. He can use the other side of the field. He can level it out somewhat and get some hits. Just put it in play more because you don't know what's going to happen."

The White Sox had climbed to within 6-4 in the seventh, when Steve Cishek struck out Jose Abreu to keep runners at second and third with two outs. Frazier entered the contest hitting .135 (7-for-52) with runners in scoring positon and two out, a situation made even tougher by Cishek's sidearm style, but he connected on a 2-0 slider to single home Adam Eaton and Tim Anderson.

"It's tough. Basically you have to pick one pitch and stick with it the whole at-bat," said Frazier of facing Cishek. "It's that slider or that fastball. He's a sidearmer, but his ball doesn't necessarily dive hard and gets on you a little bit. I got a pitch to hit and luckily it found a hole."

Eaton opened the ninth with a single off reliever Nick Vincent and moved to second on Anderson's sacrifice bunt. The Mariners elected to intentionally walk Abreu, setting up Frazier once again.

Ventura on walk-off victory

This time, he hit a 2-1 fastball down the left-field line to score Eaton with the game-winner. It was the White Sox sixth walk-off hit, the fifth of Frazier's career and his first hit off of Vincent after four previous strikeouts.

"Just go out and think of nothing, relaxed, knowing that you've been there before," Frazier said. "Bottom line is if I don't get the job done, there will be another time that I'm going to have an opportunity. It would have stunk if I didn't get the job done, but for me it felt pretty darn good to get it done."

"Tonight was a great night all the way around for him. He looked like he was swinging it better," Ventura said. "Then there in the ninth, to be able to get a guy in scoring position, a great night for Fraz. The guys are happy for him."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for 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.