White Sox’ clutch homers wasted as Nationals win 9-5 in 14 innings
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org June 24, 2011 11:22PM
A two-out solo shot by A.J. Pierzynski in the 12th inning tied Friday night’s marathon at 5. | David Banks~Getty Images
Updated: September 29, 2011 12:44AM
Family fights aren’t always a bad thing, especially in baseball, and especially if the spat is about winning.
That is White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen’s philosophy, one that serves well in situations such as the one between catcher A.J. Pierzynski and pitcher Jake Peavy on Wednesday that had talkers in high gear.
Both players repeated Friday their mutual love and respect, saying the incident that happened as Peavy walked off the mound gesturing at his catcher, and then their brief face-to-face in the dugout, was no matter of consequence.
“We’re good,’’ Pierzynski said.
“I think the world of A.J.,’’ Peavy said.
“I talked to them both,’’ Guillen said. “They are grown men. You don’t want to [be caught arguing on television]. But that happened, and it stayed there. I don’t want that hanging around.’’
The Sox were a cohesive group Friday as the Washington Nationals arrived, showing it in the ninth when Mark Teahen delivered a pinch-hit three-run homer to tie the score at 3 before eventually dropping a 9-5 decision in 14 innings. Teahen, hitting for Gordon Beckham, hit his first career pinch-hit homer off Nationals closer Drew Storen, who had converted 18 of 20 previous save opportunities.
Teahen’s heroics sent the game into extra innings for another seesaw battle, with the Nationals scoring in the 10th and the Sox answering scoring a run on a wild pitch. The Nationals took the lead again in the 12th — and the Sox answered with an A.J. Pierzynski home run (his third) with two outs.
The game went into the 14th inning, matching the longest game this season in Toronto on May 28, which the Sox lost 9-8.
The Nationals went ahead 9-5 in the 14th, scoring four unearned runs off Matt Thornton after two were out. Brian Bixler singled with two outs and stole second, then scored when shortstop Alexei Ramirez made a throwing error on a grounder by Ian Desmond, who scored on a single by Roger Bernadina. Ryan Zimmerman singled home two more.
The Nationals’ 19 hits matched their season high.
Both teams’ bullpens were spent by the 14th, with Sox starter Phil Humber in line to work if the game went longer.
Seeing the “fight’’ in his team remain on the field was the way Guillen liked it.
“If you fight one day, that’s good,’’ Guillen said of the Peavy-Pierzynski matter. “It means they care. But the next day you have to move on. I like their energy, but it stays there. Don’t let it carry on. I’m glad they talked like grown men. They’re teammates. They don’t have to love each other as friends. Just love each other as teammates.’’
The Sox are striving to get to .500, but their history of dominating the National League in interleague play could help them gain ground.
The Sox have won 17 consecutive series from National League opponents, with the Nationals visiting U.S. Cellular Field for the first time and trying to break that streak.
The game was scoreless for seven innings as Sox starter Edwin Jackson dueled Jordan Zimmerman.
The Nationals drew first blood in the eighth after Jackson left when Bernadina singled off Chris Sale before Michael Morse homered off Brian Bruney.
Zimmerman left after seven, having allowed six hits, but the Sox created fireworks in the bottom of the inning when Paul Konerko was first ruled out at first on a throw from shortstop Ian Desmond that pulled Morse from the bag. First base umpire Mike Estabrook ruled Morse tagged Konerko, but the umpires conferred and changed the ruling.
Interim Nationals manager John McLaren exploded over the call, as did some of the players. McLaren and outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. were ejected. The inning ended when Adam Dunn grounded out.
The Sox saw their chance to score in the sixth robbed by center fielder Bernadina, who leaped to the top of the center field wall to grab Dunn’s potential two-run homer.