Months ago I predicted it would be the night the Sox clinched the American League Central Division title. Instead, it was the night they fell behind the Detroit Tigers, who seized first place with a 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals.
It seemed in many ways as if the Sox were walking the dogs to be put to sleep.
That's in large part because the gutless Sox pitchers wouldn't throw strikes. They walked 12 men—did I say that already?—and it seemed as if they were ahead of the count on most before nibbling away at the corners and losing them. It produced a game that lasted almost four hours for nine innings—and one that the Sox fully deserved to lose, as the Tribe left 12 men on base.
Hector Santiago gave up a run in the first, but the Sox roared back with three in the bottom half. Santiago, however, gave two back in the fourth, when he departed after surrendering his fourth walk. The Sox took the lead back in the fifth, when Alexei Ramirez doubled off the center-field fence to score A.J. Pierzynski, but after that it was all Cleveland.
The Sox weren't done after this dog of a game before 20,200 fans—300 of them dogs—but it sure felt that way. The Tampa Bay Rays, in the hunt for a wild-card spot—and well ahead of the Sox in that particular race—come to town next for four games. The magic number is now seven—for the Tigers.