Two days after his ninth-inning meltdown that allowed the Detroit Tigers to complete a rally from a seven-run deficit, manager Ozzie Guillen gave Santos another save chance Monday.
Asked to get two outs for a save in the first game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, Santos walked the first batter he faced and gave up a single to put runners on the corners. When Luke Hughes hit a line-drive sacrifice fly to cut the White Sox’s lead to a run, Guillen went to Sale.
“When games are close, no matter who the pitcher is, if you walk guys you are going to be in trouble. But it was more a gut feeling than anything else,” Guillen said. “I wanted the matchup, I knew (Jason) Repko would be the hitter.”
Sale struck out Repko to finish off a much-needed victory after the Sox's struggles in Detroit over the weekend. But did Guillen lose Santos’ confidence in the process?
“I would like to have stayed in and kind of cleaned up my own mess, but luckily Sale came in and shut it down,” Santos said.
Guillen is aware that moves like that can have a negative effect on a pitcher, but he had bigger issues to consider.
“I don’t take anybody out if they do their job, but if I leave Santos in and we get beat, then I got 25, 35 guys down,” Guillen said. “I have to worry about that, too. I have to go with my best guy and today to close the game that was Sale. I liked the matchup, that’s why I did it.”
Yet if a save opportunity arises in Game 2, Guillen said he would consider Santos if the matchup fits.
“It’s a tough game mentally if you let it mess you up, so I’m staying positive, believe in my stuff and looking forward to being out there again," Santos said. "I’m ready from eighth inning on. So it’s a matter of him making a phone call and putting me in the game.”