White Sox outlast Red Sox in 19 innings

White Sox outlast Red Sox

CHICAGO -- When White Sox organist Nancy Faust played the theme from Titanic before Sunday's game, she couldn't have known how prophetic her song choice was.

The White Sox and Red Sox battled through 19 innings in a game that stretched from Sunday afternoon to Sunday evening. The crowd sang "Take me out to the ballgame" twice, once for the seventh-inning stretch, and a second time for the rare 14th-inning stretch. Indeed, a game of Titanic proportions.

But after six hours and 19 minutes of baseball, it was the Red Sox that did the sinking, falling to the White Sox, 6-5. After Red Sox reliever Rudy Seanez loaded the bases on three straight singles, Tadahito Iguchi hit the game-winning single that dribbled through to left field.

"I'm glad it ended when it did," Iguchi said through an interpreter. "I'm really happy, regardless of how I played at that point and regardless of how the team played, that I was able to help the team win. Now I'm ready to use the All-Star break to get healthy and hopefully come out and do some damage to start the second half."

It looked like the Red Sox would pull out a victory under normal conditions with ace closer Jonathan Papelbon on the hill in the ninth with two outs, but Jermaine Dye slammed a home run into the White Sox bullpen to tie it up and send the game to extra innings. Papelbon came into this game with a 0.41 ERA and had not surrendered a run on the road all season.

"A guy like that who's a top closer, you just go up there and be aggressive and hopefully he makes a mistake," Dye, who also had a tremendous catch to make Boston's last out in the 19th, said. "I got a pitch that I was able to put some good wood on and it tied up the game."

Just like the ship, Sunday's game set all kinds of records. It was the longest game in the 16-year history of U.S. Cellular Field and the longest game the White Sox have played in since 1991. It was the longest timed game in the Major Leagues since August 2001 and the most innings in one game so far this season.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the contest was not the longest game on the last day before the break. That honor goes to the Pirates and Cubs, who played 20 innings on July 6, 1980. The Pirates won that game, 5-4, in 5 hours, 31 minutes.

The White Sox used 21 players off of their 25-man roster, and many players said that they would need the four-day All-Star break to recuperate.

Guillen jokingly suggested to an umpire in between one of the late innings that they finish the game with a home run derby contest.

"Whoever hits more home runs wins, like they do it in soccer," Guillen said referencing Sunday's World Cup championship match. "I saw Italy won the World Cup on penalty kicks, we should do the same thing."

Each team used eight pitchers, who combined to throw 570 pitches. White Sox reliever Cliff Politte got the win after pitching a scoreless 19th inning. Guillen had been concerned lately about Politte's confidence level. He struggled in the first half with his ERA ballooning to 8.33.

"It's nice to have a scoreless inning," Politte said. "I have a new thought for the second half. The first half is over, and I was horrible. Hopefully I can be a lot better the second half.

Despite technically getting the win, Politte said he didn't think he should take credit for it, instead it should be shared by the bullpen.

Overshadowed by the marathon game, was Jose Contreras almost losing his 17-game, regular-season winning streak. Contreras left after the sixth having given up three earned runs on four hits, five walks and two wild pitches.

The White Sox had a chance to win it in the 11th, but it was just one of many times in the game they could not execute. With the bases loaded, Joe Crede hit a fly ball to right field that was caught by Boston right fielder Trot Nixon. There was a miscommunication on the basepaths and Dye, who had been at second, almost overran Ross Gload who was at third. Both runners made it back to their bases, but they missed an opportunity to score a run. Guillen said after the game that both runners were supposed to tag up.

"You saw a Little League game right there," Guillen said. "We weren't thinking on the basepaths and that's why we played the game so long. When you're on base you don't need coaches, you've got to know the game and you need to know what you've got to do.

The White Sox were able to avoid what would have been their first sweep of the season after losing the first two games of the series to Boston.

"This means a lot, especially going into the break," Dye said. "We needed this one to keep everybody sane. We'll take a couple days off and get ready for the second half."

With this being their 28th come-from-behind victory of the season and their fifth walk-off hit, the White Sox continue to look unsinkable in close games.

Leslie Parker is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.