Like zombies from beyond the baseball grave, bent on throwing sunflower seeds at each other and being as "quirky" as possible, the White Sox are still living.
After a late-season sweep in Minnesota and a collapse that saw them give back their unexpected 2008 A.L. Central lead, the Sox needed a win over a lifeless Detroit Tigers team Monday night just to get to a 163rd game. After a win there, the Sox beat a Minnesota team that couldn't muster any offense against John Danks (box score here). It was one of those surefire playoff games –– as intense as any we'rve yet to see –– and it's not even the playoffs yet.
Key plays? A few: Ken Griffey's assist on Michael Cuddyer's race toward home in the fifth inning. That the Twins would even send Cuddyer there is a testament to how far Griffey's defensive reputation has fallen. But there he was, making a rocket of a throw from center, nailing the (admittedly slow) Cuddyer with a good tag from catcher A.J. Pierzynski. (Pierzynski, being Pierzynski, felt the need to smile at Cuddyer and show him the ball; classy, A.J.)
And of course there was Jim Thome's monstrous one-run home run to center, an absolute moonshot that gave the Sox the tiny dose of offense they needed.
In a sport as rigid and numeric as baseball, postseason games take on a different feel, one that occasionally defies prediction and logic.
Such was tonight's.
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It's not that the White Sox were a surprise –– it's that, after Thome's home run, it would have been surprising for them to lose.
They're survivors like that –– annoying, frustrating, hilarious survivors.