A batter doesn’t always have to hit it far to hit it effectively.
But what a player must do is
always keep his head in the game.
An eight-run eighth inning in the White Sox’ 9-3 victory over the Padres on Sunday proved that point. The biggest hit in the inning wasn’t a hit at all. It was Tyler Saladino’s bunted pop-up to first base that scored Todd Frazier from third.
The reason Frazier scored? Padres first baseman Will Myers turned his back to Frazier.
‘‘It was just one of those things,’’ said Frazier, who had reached with a walk with the bases loaded, driving in the first run of the inning. ‘‘You read what’s going on and take a chance. I was just thinking his back was turned, and he threw the ball [home] high enough. It worked out perfectly.’’
And it led to a perfect ending for the Sox, who came back from a 3-1 deficit to take the interleague series, their first series win since April 28-30 against the Tigers.
‘‘We’ll take a win any way we can,’’ Frazier said of the Sox’ second consecutive comeback.
A night earlier, the winning run came after a walk, sacrifice bunt and RBI single.
This time, the big inning featured four walks, a booted ground ball by shortstop Luis Sardinas and Frazier’s heads-up baserunning.
‘‘I think the guys showed a lot of patience controlling the [strike] zone,’’ manager Rick Renteria said of the inning that saw 14 hitters come to the plate. ‘‘You always want to keep your head up until the play is completely done. You always want to be ready for the next play.’’
The inning came too late to give starter Jose Quintana a win, which went to Michael Ynoa (1-0).
But it kept Quintana from a potential hard-luck loss after he made one mistake pitch to Hunter Renfroe in the seventh. Renfroe’s three-run homer gave the Padres the lead. Quintana had allowed only four singles to that point.
‘‘We took the series, and I think that’s the most important thing,’’ Quintana said. ‘‘Take the series, and we have a good flight [to the West Coast] for the road trip. The most important thing here is the team won.’’
Quintana’s 60th career no-decision — the most in the majors since 2012 — is a frustration his teammates share with him.
‘‘Man!’’ Frazier said, comparing Quintana to former Reds teammate Bronson Arroyo. ‘‘But those guys pitch for a long time.’’
What will matter more for the Sox is Quintana continuing his string of four strong starts. He is 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA (eight earned runs in 26 innings) in that span compared to an 0-4 mark and 6.17 ERA in his first four starts.
‘‘I know I started slow, but now I feel better,’’ he said. ‘‘I have confidence every time [out]. Sometimes you don’t get the results you want, but the best results is the team winning. I can go to bed feeling good.’’
Renteria is just as confident in his left-hander.
‘‘He doesn’t let anything that happens in the past affect him in terms of results,’’ Renteria said. ‘‘I think his idea, his preparation and his feel for wanting to get after the hitters in terms of his plan, his mindset, is very even keel. I think you see the same guy every single day. When he goes out there, even if the results aren’t what you expect, he still goes out there and commands a presence on the mound.’’
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