Eighth inning Limbo!
Short Take: How did Jose score?
The Sox win 4-3 with a dramatic eighth inning comeback over
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
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
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
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?"
Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner
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!
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