- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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How it happened:The Sox were in a must-win situation entering the game, three games out of first place with three to play. Young Sox starter Hector Santiago was the star of the game, allowing just one hit through seven innings and striking out a career-high 10 batters. The Sox had men on first and second with nobody out in the second inning and failed to score. They continued the insidious trend of hitting in the .180s (last 25 games ) with men in scoring position before Adam Dunn snapped an 0-for-18 skid with an RBI single to score Dewayne Wise in the sixth. Wise did a few of the little things that have been missing in the Sox offense as of late, dropping a bunt single and stealing second. Alex Rios drove in Dunn with a single off of the left field wall. A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo followed with RBI singles to cap a four-run sixth. Pierzynski’s 77th RBI of the season tied his career high (2004 with the Giants). Alexei Ramirez tacked on an RBI single in the eighth. The Sox tacked on six runs in the ninth, highlighted by a grand slam by Vicido.
What it means: The Sox briefly kept their playoff hopes alive with their win. But the Tigers finished off a 6-3 win in Kansas City later in the evening to eliminate the Sox. The Sox were in first place 117 games during the 2012 season. They set an all-time record for strikeouts by their pitching staff with 1,221.
Outside the box: Jake Peavy will presumably become a free agent as it’s likely the Sox will pay him a $4 million dollar buyout on his 2013 contract option ($22 million club option). Peavy, who has been represented by veteran agent Barry Axelrod, will need a new agent for future negotiations as Axelrod has taken a job with the Diamondbacks and now is ineligible to represent players. Manager Robin Ventura said Peavy will start Tuesday regardless of the team’s playoff status.
Up next: Peavy (11-12, 3.37 ERA) pitches against Cleveland’s Justin Masterson (11-15, 5.03) in Game 2 of the series.
Rapid Reaction: The White Sox scored 11 runs and Hector Santiago pitched terrific.