The situation: The White Sox have the bases loaded with one out in the first.
After utilizing the shift (three infielders on the right side) against Jim Thome in Game 1, the Rays remain in their usual alignment.
Thome lines an RBI single through the right side, snapping his 0-for-13 string against Scott Kazmir.
Had they stayed in the shift, Thome's ball almost certainly would have been caught and perhaps converted into an inning-ending double play. Instead, the White Sox scored a pair of runs and made Kazmir throw 37 pitches before he got out of the inning.
"We wanted to give [Kazmir] every chance to get out of it, and he did a good job holding them right there." -- Rays manager Joe Maddon
Round two to Balfour
The situation: Trailing 3-2 in the sixth, the Sox have a runner at second base with one out.
Maddon brings in Grant Balfour to face Orlando Cabrera.
Balfour retires Cabrera on a grounder to second, then gets Nick Swisher on a fly to left to end the threat.
Maddon didn't hesitate to bring in Balfour, who had jawed with Cabrera during Game 1, and once again Balfour came through. Kazmir had already thrown 98 pitches.
"That's what he does, he thrives in those situations. Our guys know what they have to do and more often than not we get it done." -- Rays reliever Dan Wheeler
Howell has it against Ramirez
The White Sox have runners on first and second with none out in the seventh.
Maddon brings in left-hander J.P. Howell.
Howell retires Thome, Alexei Ramirez and A.J. Pierzysnki
No surprise that Maddon would bring in Howell to face the left-handed hitting Thome, but letting the lefty pitch to Chicago's hottest right-handed hitter, Ramirez, was a gamble. But Howell made it pay off big time.
"When he has command of his fastball and sets up that changeup and the curveball, he's very, very good. Once again, he's shown why he's been so invaluable to our success this year." -- Maddon
The White Sox offense struggles in the 6-4 loss in Game 1.
The decision: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen shuffles his starting lineup, inserting Nick Swisher and Brian Anderson in left and center, respectively, in place of Dewayne Wise and Ken Griffey Jr. Guillen puts Swisher in the No. 2 spot and drops Anderson down to ninth.
Swisher reaches base three times, with two walks and a single, and scores Chicago's second run.
Swisher has had a disappointing year, but he does work the count (his 4.51 pitches per plate appearance led the league) and that skill came in handy against Kazmir, whose control problems were tailor-made for Swisher's strengths.
"I put Swisher [at No. 2], because he has a chance a little bit more than Brian. Brian's not swinging the bat well every time I played him. That's why I moved him down. In the past he was OK batting second, but that's the reason we did it." -- Guillen