THE WIN JUSTIFIES THE GAME

Unfortunately Jim Thome doesn’t run very fast, fortunately where he hits the ball, he doesn’t have to. Thome hit one far and deep into the Chicago night ending a 15 inning contest between two first place ballclubs. Dawn, an usher at US Cellular Field, saw Mr. Thome (Jim’s Dad) coming off the elevator the next day after the late night game. She said, “Congratulate your son and kick him in the fanny, if he’d have hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th, we’d have gone home alot earlier”.

It was a matchup featuring Gavin Floyd for the White Sox and John Lackey for the Angels, on paper, it looked like a pitcher’s dual. It looked like the Angels had it when they broke a two-two tie in the top of the 6th, exploding for three big runs. LA of A adopted Chicago’s scoring method when Juan Rivera hit a long drive, that looked to be going foul, to left, that just made it over the fence, with a runner aboard. The next batter, Mike Napoli, took a 3-0 fat fastball, and sent it up into the wind, which carried it over the centerfield wall. I was starting to wonder, was it really a coincidence that DonS (a Huge Halo fan) stopped by to visit.

With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the 6th Paul Konerko connected. Paulie has been red hot! Konerko will be the bat to pick it up after losing Carlos Quentin for the season. But the good guys still trailed 5-3 after six.

In the bottom of the 7th Nick Swisher connected with Alexei Ramirez aboard after a leadoff walk, to tie the ballgame at five.

Bobby Jenks entered the tie ballgame in the top of the 9th inning. Surprisingly Brandon Wood (a Josh Fields wannabe) took Jenks out to give the Angels a one run lead, setting up KRod for another save.

Francisco Rodriguez is in hot pursuit of former White Sox closer Bobby Thigpen’s single season saves record. However he wasn’t going to get any closer to the record on this night as Ramirez got a leadoff single, went to 3rd on a single to right by Swisher, and scored on a deep sac fly to rightfielder Vladimir Guerrero by pinch hitter Dewayne Wise. However pinch runner Jerry Owens was out trying to advance to 2nd on the play when Mark Teixeira cutoff the throw home & fired to Wood. This doubleplay tied the game, but ended a game winning rally.

Scot Shields took over for KRod as the game entered the bottom of the 10th. Scot’s entire family gathers at the Cell whenever Shields & the Angels come to town. There must’ve been twenty plus, strong, even his elderly mother was rooting for her son. Sean Rodriguez fielded A.J. Pierzynski’s leadoff single up the middle, but threw the ball away trying to get A.J. at 1st, the error allowed Pierzynski to go to 2nd with nobody out. When Jermaine Dye singled to left, it looked as though the Sox were going to hang an L on Shields. It was 1st & 3rd, nobody out, with Thome, Konerko, & Griffey coming up.

Mike Scioscia brought on Robb Quinlan to give the Angels five infielders. Thome struckout swinging, which was what Dawn was talking about the next day with Jim’s Dad. Then Paulie bounced one down to third on which Pierzynski was caught off base, rather than risk an around the horn doubleplay. With two out Griffey lined a deep drive to centerfield, which Torii Hunter tracked down for out number three. Houdini Shields had escaped.

Once again the Good Guys had a good chance at winning the game when Owens stole second after lining a one out single to center. Josh Fields was called out on strikes, why take a bat up there, if you’re not going to swing it? Then A.J. struckout swinging to end the threat.

The next three innings were controlled by Jason Bulger for the visitors, who threw three perfect innings, striking out five and Mike MacDougal & Matt Thornton for the home team, who threw up three goose eggs themselves.

After singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame for the 2nd time in the game in the bottom of the 14th, Horacio Ramirez was called upon to face Chone Figgins, who flew to center. Then Ramirez walked the lefty swinging Garret Anderson bringing up switch hitter Teixeira. Mark hit a doubleplay grounder to Fields at third. But when Fields took his time on his throw to 2nd, the potential inning ending DP was lost. Ehren Wassermann was brought on to strikeout Guerrero to end the top of the 15th.

The Angels manager brought on relief pitcher Justin Speier to pitch in the bottom of the 15th. Maybe Scioscia just wanted the game to end, as Speier’s 1-7 record might indicate, Chicago restaurants are open late, but it was getting a little bit ridiculous, and the postgame fireworks display is one of the best around. Justin got Dye to ground to Figgins at third. And up stepped Jim Tome, Thome’s blast, his 30th on the season, put him ahead of Mickey Mantle on the All Time Home Run list. Walkoff style, like his 500th, with some premature fireworksulation.

It should be noted that Jermaine Dye made three outstanding catches in rightfield. He’s been playing Gold Glove calibar rightfield all season long, making great diving catches, strong & accurate throws, while committing only one error. He probably won’t win a Gold Glove as three centerfielders (Torii Hunter, Grady Sizemore, & Ichiro) will probably win the A.L. “outfielder” awards. It is insane that the awards aren’t given out on the basis of whether you play left, center, or right. It would be like the award being given to infielders, whereby all shortstops might be rewarded there. Alex Rios might challenge Dye for a “rightfielder’s” Gold Glove, but I’m voting for JD!

Torii Hunter had a tough night at the dish, going 0-6, with two K’s. Late in the game a fan standing next to Nancy Faust’s booth kept yelling, “A.J. SAYS, YOU’RE A PUNK!, WE DIDN’T WANT YOU ANYWAY!, & TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN!”. I’d like to think my yelling got into Torii’s head.

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