CHICAGO – Sometimes the opposite of what is expected really is the correct thing to do.
On Tuesday against the Texas Rangers the White Sox were skidding on ice and simply lifted their foot off the brake.
Rookie Brent Morel, quieter than a snowflake and powerless all season, lifted a three-run home run in the fifth inning to tie the game and the White Sox won it with a run in the ninth on a wild pitch.
But the White Sox weren’t done with key offense from third baseman. It might not be a position that has offered much punch this year, but newcomer Dallas McPherson got into the mix as well with a pinch-hit single that set up the go-ahead run in the eighth.
When play began Tuesday, White Sox third basemen had driven 11 runs all season, last in the American League. They had no home runs and a .559 OPS that was better than only Seattle and Detroit.
“[Morel] needed and we needed that one, just to wake up,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I think we were very flat because we didn’t have good swings. After that home run, obviously, we came alive a little bit and things were different. It’s one thing about Mo, we don’t bring him here because he hit 3,000 with 30 home runs. We bring him here because he can help the club do a lot of things.”
His first home run just reached the first row in left field and was just the second White Sox hit of the game off Rangers starter Matt Harrison.
“It was just the same as always,” Morel said of his approach. “He [just] threw me a little slider down and in and I was trying to stay on the ball. Luckily, I got a fastball over the plate. Mistake pitch. I was fortunate to get that one.”
First and foremost it tied the score 3-3, but the added benefit to Morel’s home run was that it brought White Sox starter John Danks to life. Struggling on a night that he would allow six walks, Danks retired the next four batters he faced before leaving the game in the seventh after giving up a bunt single. Jesse Crain and Sergio Santos took it the rest of the way.
“That was huge, that was the turning point in the game,” Danks said about Morel’s home run. “At that point I told myself I get a fresh start now. I felt like I had better command as the game went on, and I was able to put more behind the pitch. He gave us a lift, no doubt.”
But third basemen weren’t done yet. With Gordon Beckham on first base and one out in the eighth inning, Dallas McPherson came on to pinch hit for Brent Lillibridge. In his first look in a White Sox uniform, he singled up the middle on the first pitch for his first big-league hit since 2008.
Beckham moved to third base and scored the go-ahead run on a gift wild pitch.
“Yeah, that definitely was a great moment,” McPherson said. “I’m still trying to remember. It was nice to get that one out of the way. I had no idea what he had, as far as offspeed pitches and stuff. I was looking for something to hook in the four-hole [second base]. I miscalculated the sink a little bit and I kind of got lucky it went over the middle.”
Of course. It wasn’t what McPherson expected. But that was the theme of the night.