It didn’t take long for newcomer Orlando Hudson to have a heroic moment. The Chicago White Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays were tied 3-3 going into the final frame. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Dayan Viciedo on third, Hudson hit a game-winning single into center field and became the series savior.
Having won 15 of their last 19 games, suffering a sweep on Thursday from the Blue Jays would have been quite out of character for these red-hot Sox. Jake Peavy pitched another solid game, giving up just two earned runs in six innings of work. Unfortunately, his record could not improve to 7-1 since the Sox couldn’t find their offense until after he had departed the game. His control was a bit off, though. Peavy walked five batters while only striking out four.
The majority of the Sox offense came off the bat of Alex Rios. With Paul Konerko on base, Rios blasted a two-run shot into left field during the sixth inning. The bomb gave Rios 31 RBIs on the season and tied up the game. It was also nice to see Paul Konerko jump right back into the action without missing a beat. Having missed the last two games due to wrist soreness, Konerko made up for lost time as he went 2-3 with a run scored.
Konerko’s .371 average is still the Major League-best and his determination is definitely an inspiration for younger players. A few weeks ago, Konerko was drilled in the face during the Cubs-Sox series. A few games later, he returned with a hitting streak that catapulted his average into the .400’s. With Alex Rios and the rest of the second half of the lineup starting to heat up, the Sox are putting together a very powerful offense.
It was fitting that Hudson would have the game-winning hit since it was a somewhat misplayed ball in the second inning that led to two Blue Jays’ runs. Although not counted an error, Hudson felt he could have made the play and prevented those runs from coming home. Luckily he made up for it by having the most important swing of the night.
Even though they lost the series, Thursday’s win was a textbook “team victory.” Although Peavy’s control was shaky, the defense was behind him and the offense came through in the clutch. Tonight, the Sox will have a 2005 World Series rematch against the Houston Astros as they look to extend their hold on the AL Central.