CHICAGO -- Melky Cabrera connected for a three-run homer off of David Price in the third inning of the White Sox 5-4 victory over Boston Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, a drive to left with an exit velocity of 105 mph.
But it was Cabrera's 155-foot single in the seventh, a ball grabbed by second baseman Josh Rutledge on the edge of the infield grass, which ultimately produced victory for the South Siders. Actually, it was the aggressive call made by third-base coach Nick Capra to send home Kevan Smith from second providing the ultimate difference.
The slightly offline throw from Rutledge had Smith beat, but catcher Christian Vazquez couldn't handle the hop and put down the tag as the ball bounced behind him. The bullpen made that run hold for the team's fourth win in five games during this homestand.
Here's the strange part of the scenario: Smith didn't even realize Cabrera's hit pretty much stayed in the infield.
"I thought the ball got through," said the White Sox catcher with a laugh. "I knew he was playing up the middle a little bit, because he was kind of stacked behind me at second.
"When he hit the ball, I was like, 'I'm either going to hold up at third or he obviously got it.' Then when he starts waving me, kind of caught me off guard. I thought it got through, but after I got in [to the dugout], I found out it didn't. When he says go, I'm going. Fortunately, it worked out in our favor."
Smith doubled home the tying run off reliever Matt Barnes, scoring Yolmer Sanchez, who knocked his third triple to open the frame. Smith remained at second when Adam Engel bunted foul on two strikes and Tim Anderson grounded out to third.
Cabrera's spinning jam shot up the middle had an exit velocity of 55.5 mph and a hit probability of 25 percent per Statcast™. It looked like a line drive in the box score, with Capra having a good read on the play from the outset.
"That ball had a lot of spin on it," Capra said. "They are going backwards to catch the ball, and he came up with it cleaner than I anticipated. But Smith did a nice job rounding the bag, and the throw was offline.
"His secondary lead was pretty good. We took a chance, and it paid off. They have to make the throw and we hopefully put pressure on them, and when you are aggressive you can do that. It worked out."
Third-base coaches usually receive the spotlight when a key runner gets thrown out on the basepaths. But even with this play being successful, Capra joked about being nervous until Smith crossed the plate.
"I hold my breath a lot," a smiling Capra said. "I turn blue sometimes, if you noticed."
"You just hope for timely hitting, you hope for those mistakes, for chinks in the armor to show up when the opponent is out there pitching," said David Robertson, who picked up his eighth save. "Today we were lucky enough to score enough runs."