Santiago sharp, but White Sox drop nightcap in 13

Santiago sharp, but White Sox drop nightcap in 13

Santiago sharp, but White Sox drop nightcap in 13

PHILADELPHIA -- A part of the future was on display for the White Sox during Saturday's doubleheader against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, and it honestly didn't look too bad.

The South Siders claimed a 5-4 victory in Game 1 behind solid pitching from John Danks, a couple of late-inning escape acts by relievers Nate Jones and Ramon Troncoso and Alexei Ramirez's timely hitting. The 2-1 Phillies victory in the nightcap was primarily about Hector Santiago, who is on his third run as part of the White Sox rotation and second this season, although it was Simon Castro who gave up the game-winner on Michael Young's single to right in the 13th inning.

Santiago struck out nine over 7 1/3 innings using his wide array of pitches, including a screwball that still has Delmon Young looking for the baseball on a seventh-inning strikeout. The 25-year-old southpaw didn't figure in the final outcome, despite giving up just three hits and one walk, but certainly pitched well enough to win.

Whether Santiago figures in the club's plans for 2013 and beyond, and where he figures into them, has not been decided. His versatility as a starter and a reliever and overall raw talent could make him an attractive trade piece for a White Sox team that is in some form of reshaping or rebuilding, but he also could join Danks and Chris Sale as part of a top-flight rotation and pitching staff that would speed up the rebuilding process.

General manager Rick Hahn made his first move late Friday night, shipping veteran reliever Matt Thornton to Boston for outfield prospect Brandon Jacobs. Fellow reliever and potential trade candidate Jesse Crain pointed out that talk of a Thornton trade has been going on for the past few years, but it's still shocking when it takes place.

That impending turnover might in some strange way have put the White Sox at ease. That turnover, and the fact that as far back as they are of American Central-leading Detroit and second-place Cleveland, the White Sox are basically playing for personal and organization pride.

Sure, there was a baserunning error in Game 1. The White Sox missed scoring opportunities in both ends of the doubleheader, and Castro being late to cover first on Jimmy Rollins' grounder in the 13th allowed Rollins to reach base and eventually score the deciding tally. But since Monday night's debacle against the Cubs at home, the White Sox (37-54) have played a better brand of baseball overall.

Their lone run against John Lannan came in the fifth inning of the nightcap, when Blake Tekotte doubled to left-center and scored on Gordon Beckham's sacrifice fly to left. Tekotte is another potential future contributor who will get a more extended look over the second half of the season than he might have if the team was in contention, especially if Alex Rios is moved before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Tekotte's run stood up behind Santiago, until John Mayberry Jr. hit a solo homer to left on Santiago's first-pitch curveball with two outs in the seventh.

"I just wanted that one pitch back," said Santiago, who threw 108 pitches. "But other than that one, I feel like everything was good. All my pitches were working. It was a good night all around."

"He was sharp. He gives up the one home run," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Santiago. "It's one of those things. We had a lot of opportunities. Their guy just got out of it. We had a guy on third with nobody out."

The White Sox had a chance to take the lead in the 11th, but Jeff Keppinger, who walked to open the frame, was thrown out at the plate by Domonic Brown on Tyler Flowers' single to left.

They got a scare in the bottom of the 12th, when Beckham ended up in pain down the right-field line after colliding with Casper Wells on Wells' sliding catch. Beckham was grabbing the upper part of his left leg, but after being examined by White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider, he stayed in the game.

Beckham departed in the bottom of the 13th with a left quad bruise, described by Ventura as more of a Charley horse issue, with catcher Josh Phegley taking over at second as the team's last position player. Phegley played the infield for the first time since his collegiate days at Indiana.

It was a tough ending to almost eight hours of baseball in extremely humid conditions.

"We were all pretty exhausted," Michael Young said. "It was a long day, but at this point, obviously we need wins any way we can get them. So it was important to get the second one. I started seeing stuff out there after a while. I was getting pretty dizzy out there, but I'm happy to get that win any way we can get it."

"My shirt, when I took it off, it felt like 10 pounds," said Santiago, who didn't have to arrive until around 4 p.m. as the Game 2 pitcher. "They've been here since 10 in the morning. Definitely a harder day for them and I actually missed half of it. For me it was tough and I could only imagine for them."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.