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Eighth inning Limbo!

(May 30)

Short Take:  How did Jose score?

The Sox win 4-3 with a dramatic eighth inning comeback over Toronto.  

How did this happen?  After yesterday's lethargic effort, this game too had all the earmarks of yet another disgusting Sox loss.  Starter James Baldwin pitched his heart out for seven full innings allowing just one run but left with nothing but a 1-1 tie and no decision.  Kelly Wunsch relieved him, hit a batter and then fed his gopher to saddle the Sox with a 3-1 deficit.  

That was the situation as the Sox took their cuts in the bottom of the eighth.  Then a funny thing happened:  the Sox started playing baseball!  The Sox managed to load the bases with nobody out as Sandy Alomar, Royce Clayton, and Jose Valentin each reached base.  It's worth noting that both Clayton and Valentin got on base with walks--a most rare occurrence for these 2001 Sox. 

Next Carlos Lee comes up with the game's clutch hit, stroking one up the middle to score Josh Paul (pinch running for Alomar) and Clayton, Valentin going to third base.  

The strikeout of Ray Durham put to an end Sox Fans dreams that this comeback would be easy.  In fact, the #3, #4, and #5 hitters failed to come through in the rally, which makes what happened at homeplate even more spectacular.

Magglio Ordonez followed Durham, and got his bat sawed off on the 1-0 pitch, the barrel traveling further than the weak bouncer to the thirdbasemen.  Valentin is off down the line and appears an easy out for a fielder's choice, the ball arriving in catcher Alberto Castillo's glove a good six feet ahead of Valentin.

Here's the whole ballgame.  The typical move by a baserunner caught in this position is to simply trot straight into the tag-out or at best give a simple "how do you do" slide into the glove and ball.  But this was Jose Valentin, and he's too much a gamer to give in quite that easily.

With Castillo's foot resting on top of the plate, Valentin had just enough daylight to make good on a slide that can best be described as a first-rate limbo move, getting his chest, and shoulders under Castillo's waiting glove.  Meanwhile Jose's toes were straining for that small piece of homeplate left open on the other side of the tag-out.

He was safe and the replay showed it wasn't even close.  3-2 Sox, the winning run scored by a guy who is playing at a level simply head and shoulders better than anybody else on the team.  Even in the foggy mind of Jerry Manuel, Jose Valentin is the team's MVP.  No question!

Sox win the rubber game and bounce back neatly from last night's shutout debacle.  Hey, even Royce Clayton had a hit.  Sox Fans, "who wudda thunk it?"  


Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

Jose Valentin

Undoubtedly a season highlight play for the 2001 Sox, coming home with the winning run by sliding underneath a tag that had him beat by six feet.  Another tough, smart, and spectacular play by Manos de Piedras for another White Sox Winner!

Play WSI's Pick to Click Contest!

  2001 Sox Schedule | Sox Clubhouse message board

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