It turned out to be a wonderful idea. Wilson hit a tying home run with two outs in the ninth inning off closer Bobby Jenks(notes) and the Pittsburgh Pirates went on to beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3 on Sunday.
“Adam said he was going to get me right,” said Wilson, who homered for only the second time since Sept. 17, 2007. “I did take (LaRoche) deep a couple times. Got to give credit to the BP thrower.”
Perhaps the Pirates should have tried that tactic earlier in the series. They were shut out in the first two games and were frustrated for most of Sunday, managing only one run in the first seven innings despite getting 12 hits off White Sox ace Mark Buehrle(notes).
Octavio Dotel(notes), who came in with the third-lowest ERA of any AL reliever (0.66) gave up a two-out, eighth-inning homer to Eric Hinske(notes). And after retiring the first two batters in the ninth on weak grounders, Jenks served up Wilson’s shot—only the shortstop’s third hit in his last 21 at-bats.
Jenks, who entered the game with a 0.00 ERA in save situations and 10 saves in as many opportunities, then gave up Nyjer Morgan’s(notes) double into the right-field corner and Delwyn Young’s(notes) RBI single down the left-field line on consecutive pitches.
“We were trying to go away and it came back middle up,” Jenks said of the 1-0 pitch to Wilson. “The way I look at it is if I blow one out of every 11, and if I get 44 chances, that’s a pretty good year.”
Pirates closer Matt Capps(notes) succeeded where Jenks failed, striking out Carlos Quentin(notes), Brian Anderson(notes) and Chris Getz(notes) in the ninth for his ninth save as the Pirates snapped a three-game losing streak.
“We’ve been struggling and that’s a good way to get out of it,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “We started by getting a lot of hits but still weren’t scoring any runs. I think Hinske, when he hit the home run, he kind of lifted the guys a little bit. Then we put together a good ninth with two outs against one of the better closers in the game.”
Hinske was playing because LaRoche got the day off and Young was in the outfield to give Nate McClouth some rest.
“It was a big day for us as a team,” said Hinske, whose previous homer came for Tampa Bay in last year’s World Series. “Losing that game would have been tough. Anytime you win it melts any frustration away. We were going crazy … very excited, to say the least.”
The White Sox completed their homestand with a 4-2 record but most will remember the two losses. They fell to Minnesota 20-1, tying the most lopsided defeat in team history, and on Sunday lost for the first time all season when leading after eight innings.
Eleven of the 12 hits against Buehrle were singles—Hinske’s first-inning RBI double being the exception—and the left-hander escaped jam after jam thanks to help from his teammates. Center fielder Scott Podsednik(notes) and right fielder Anderson each threw out a runner and second baseman Getz and shortstop Alexei Ramirez(notes) began double plays after making outstanding stops.
Anderson hit a two-run homer in the first and also scored in the fifth after reaching on a bunt single. He had gone 3 for 23 over his previous eight games.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen missed his second consecutive game while tending to his ailing father-in-law. Bench coach Joey Cora ran the team. … The White Sox lead all clubs with 298 homers in interleague play. … The Pirates begin another road series Monday but don’t even have to change hotels, as they face the Cubs. Several players brought their entire families to enjoy nearly a full week in Chicago. … DeWayne Wise(notes), the primary CF for the White Sox during the season’s first two weeks before going on the DL with a separated shoulder, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Monday at Triple-A Charlotte.