Jake Peavy admitted he wasn't sure what he was feeling in the ninth inning Saturday as he watched his 1-0 lead disappear in one swing of Miami Marlins second baseman Derek Dietrich's bat.
Dietrich's third homer of the season made it a new game with two outs to go, and even after Peavy struck out Marcell Ozuna, he was thinking about the homer.
``I kept thinking that should have been the third out,'' he said.
A walk and a balk followed before Peavy retired the side--then watched teammates Dewayne Wise and Conor Gillaspie team with a double and single for the 2-1 walkoff victory that made it all end well.
``I'm excited we found a way to win because that would have been a tough one to lose,'' said Peavy, who improved to 6-2 in his 14th career complete game and seventh with the Sox.
The victory was the eighth in the last 11 games for the Sox, who moved within one game of .500 at 23-24.
``I'm so happy we got the win and that he got it, too,'' said catcher Hector Gimenez. ``I had to make sure to remind him that he still needed to get the side out [after the homer.] We were having a tough time with signs through the game, and that's what caused him to balk.''
Peavy blamed himself for not executing the back-door breaking ball he had retired Dietrich on earlier.
``We always talk about keeping our composure, but I didn't there,'' he said. ``And we were having a hard time with the signs all night,'' he said of working with Gimenez.
``I had to tell him a couple times my eyes aren't that good any more.''
But manager Robin Venture knew Peavy was good enough overall to stay in.
He checked with his veteran in the ninth, though it was as much to give him a brief breather.
``The ball was still coming out of his hand good,'' Ventura said. ``You like seeing him go back out there. I was just checking to see how he was. I trusted him in that spot.''
Peavy in an interleague game is about as trustworthy as a pitcher can be.
He improved to 15-11 in interleague games with a 2.49 ERA.
In this game, he retired the first 11 of 13 batters he faced and gave up only six hits.
And if age caused him some eye problems with signs, experience came to his aide against the young Marlins.
``You come up with a game plan and take it out against their youth--but talent is talent,'' he added.
``I look at the games they've played and they're in everyone one and they have good starting pitching,'' he said. ``I was impressed with the lineup I saw.
``I didn't feel my best out there tonight, but I had enough to get through and help us win the game.''
The game saw Alex Rios' career-high 18 game hitting streak end, the Sox getting eight hits off starter Ricky Nolasco and only one extra base hit. That was Alexei Ramirez double in the third that scored the first run.
The winning run in the ninth came after Wise had entered as defensive replacement in center field in the top of the inning.
He doubled off Ryan Webb (1-3) and was waved home on Gillaspie's single to short left field.
``I kind of hesitated a little coming around but he [third base coach Joe McEwing] was waving me in,'' said Wise, who easily eluded left fielder Juan Pierre's throw.
A national television crew worked Saturday's games, giving announcers Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone a day off after Friday's game that saw another tirade from Harrelson about umpire Angel Hernandez.
Hernandez at first base ruled Alex Rios was out on what became an inning ending double play in the 10th inning, negating a Sox score.
``He's kind of pulling for us to win, it seems,'' manager Robin Ventura said with a smile. ``It's not a secret that he would like us to win every night.
``Playing here, that's part of the fun. He's into it and pulling for you. Sometimes the filter doesn't quite close all the way.''
Players have come to expect Harrelson's passionate ways about the Sox, despite some past controversies.
``He's the 26th, 27th and 28th guy. He's the Hawk,'' Paul Konerko said. ``What can you say? He' going to say whatever is on his mind. He's been around for a long time, he's been in baseball a long time. If he sees something he doesn't like, he's going to let people know. That's the Hawk.''
John Danks was good enough Friday in his first game in more than a year to earn a quality start for the White Sox, if not the Sox 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins in 11 innings.
But six innings of three runs on four hits--with five strikeouts and no walks--may only be the beginning of even better days for the lefty with a repaired shoulder.
``The John today on the mound may well be different from the John we see six months from now,'' general manager Rick Hahn said. ``When you're coming back from a shoulder surgery, it's not always a linear process and it's not always one where you have continual improvement over time.
``He's going to build up arm strength through further outings when he pitches competitively. I expect we're going to see a pitcher who's going to battle and keep us in games, give us a good chance to win right now--but he may well continue to improve over the next six months or a year.''
Danks last pitched May 19, 2012 in an interleague game against the Cubs. Shoulder surgery and the long rehab process were as much a mental exercise as a physical one.
``The DL is a lonely place,'' said manager Robin Ventura, who endured his own long rehab years ago after dislocating his ankle in a spring training game. ``It's tough. It's miserable and everything that goes with that.
``To have him come back, with the emotions and keeping that in check, he did great.''
Danks threw 76 pitches, and the radar gun often seemed out of whack registering his ``speed'' at times at 76 mph. He did hit one batter, but the hit that hurt the most was a home run by Derek Ditrich with Placido Polanco on base.
The other run scored when the last batter he faced, Marcell Ozuna, led the 7th with a double and eventually scored.
``I should have thought more about that home run pitch,'' Danks said. ``I should have had a better idea, but that's on me.
``But all in all, it was a great first time out,'' he said. ``The competitor in my wanted to go more, but I understand. It's part of coming back.''
Ventura saw plenty of good things in six innings.
``He was getting people to swing and miss. It was what you'd expect in him coming back,'' Ventura said. ``He had enough spotting his curveball and fastball--that's what he plays with.''
Danks is willing to accept trading a once-electric fastball for command.
``I've seen 93 mph fastballs get hit a long way,'' he said. ``I think if the rest of my career I can throw 87 to 90 and throw where I want to--I've learned location means a lot.
``I felt great,'' he added. ``From where I was in spring training to here, it's night and day. I feel we're at a good point. My stuff is coming, but I feel I have plenty to compete.''
The Sox had tied the score with two runs in the fifth giving Danks the lead in the sixth when Paul Konerko singled home Alex Rios, who had singled to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.
The winning run scored in the 11th when Konerko singled with one out. Pinch runner Tyler Greene scored on Jeff Keppinger's single, giving the Sox their second walk-off victory of the season.
The Sox had a chance to win in the 10th when they loaded the bases against Chad Qualls.
But Rios grounded into a double play, ruled out at first in a close play.
``You just have to keep playing,'' Ventura said.
Danks' return was considered a victory in itself by his teammates.
``I know what he has had to go through mentally and physically to get back here, and it has been a long road and not an easy one,'' pitcher Chris Sale said. ``I'm just happy for him.
``Regardless of how it goes, it's a win either way. Having him go back out there and jump on that horse, it's fun to watch.''
Gordon Beckham's progress suffered a ``slight'' setback Friday after experiencing soreness in his left hand after playing for Class AAA Charlotte Thursday night.
The White Sox decided to keep him off the field until Wednesday.
General manager Rick Hahn said the soreness is typical for some players coming back from hamate bone surgery.
``It's just the regular ramp-up of activity so we decided to be conservative,'' he said.
Beckham, who had surgery April 16 to remove the bone tip, was ``ahead of schedule'' in what is typically a six-week recovery, Hahn said. ``I don't want to characterize it as a setback because six weeks is the usual [recovery time],'' he said. ``We're just not maintaining the ahead-of-schedule routine.''
Beckham contacted Hahn before Thursday's game and set he was feeling well, but afterward he told Hahn of feeling discomfort when he swings.
Beckham is hitting .318 (7-22) in five rehab games with Charlotte, with two RBI and five runs scored.
Beckham has started two games at second base and also played two at shortstop.
While Beckham has been slowed, pitcher Chris Sale said he felt good Friday after going through a shoulder workout with trainer Herm Schneider.
Sale emphasized he is ready to resume pitching Tuesday against the Cubs.
``I think we're progressing the way we want to,'' he said. ``I wanted to throw and Herm said to wait a day.
``In my mind I'm going to start on Tuesday, but it's kind of out of my hands,'' said Sale, who missed his last turn when he experienced shoulder soreness.
Manager Robin Ventura said Sale is slated for Tuesday. ``If it changes, it changes,'' he said.
Hahn said the decision to have Sale skip his start Wednesday against Boston was ``precautionary.''
``We decided to err on the side of caution as much because if he wasn't feeling right, would he change his mechanics to compensate and then possibly hurt himself,'' Hahn said.
After throwing 80 pitches in a rough outing against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday, White Sox left-hander Hector Santiago bounced back with six strong innings in a 6-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz on Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
The 25-year-old left-hander, pressed into service when Chris Sale was scratched from his scheduled start with a sore shoulder, threw 107 pitches over six innings, allowing two runs on a one-armed opposite field single to left in the first inning by David Ortiz. Santiago (2.81 ERA) gave up five hits and four walks while striking out nine.
Buchholz (7-0) held the Sox to five hits in seven innings and left the game leading 2-1. The Red Sox tacked on two runs in the eighth and ninth innings against the Sox struggling bullpen.
It's possible Santiago was headed to the bullpen, with a return by John Danks to the rotation expected Friday.
Starting pitching continues to be the team's strong suit, despite injuries to Gavin Floyd and missed starts by Sale and Jake Peavy. In the last 32 games, Sox starters have made 21 quality starts with a 2.86 ERA.
Alex Rios extended his career high hitting streak to 17, the longest in the AL this season. Rios drove in the Sox run with a ground out to shortstop in the third inning. Paul Konerko hit his first home run since late April in the ninth inning. Konerko was 2-for-4.
The Sox (21-24) won the first two games of the series.