Sergio Santos was once again unable to throw his offspeed pitches with any consistency Sunday afternoon.
Nine offspeed pitches were thrown by Santos in the ninth, three of which were strikes. Two of his four changeups were strikes, but four of his five sliders were out of the zone. So while Santos ultimately nailed down the save—with an assist from first base umpire Brian O'Nora—it wasn't encouraging for anyone looking for a quick rebound.
Beyond his offspeed issues, Santos allowed two hits and a walk in the inning against the back of Oakland's order. He did pick up a strikeout using his changeup against Daric Barton, but that was the only swinging strike Santos induced all afternoon.
In his last three games, Santos has thrown 89 pitches. Of those, 65 were fastballs, 14 were sliders and 10 were changeups. He's barely been able to throw those 24 offspeed pitches for strikes, allowing opponents to sit fastball in nearly every sequence. For Santos to get back on track, he has to make opponents respect his offspeed pitches. That was the case before Sunday's game, and it's still the case after the Sox's 5-4 win.
Adam Dunn belted his second home run of the series. File that under "good news."
Phil Humber was once again effective, throwing seven innings while allowing three runs. His seven strikeouts were a season high, as Oakland had no answer for Humber's curveball. It generated eight swings and misses on on 36 pitches, 20 of which were strikes. When Humber's curveball is that effective, few teams are going to have much of a chance to do significant damage of the right-hander.
Once again, the A's practically handed the White Sox a win. Guillermo Moscoso was good, only allowing the three-run homer to Dunn until the seventh. But he walked Mark Teahen to lead off the inning and then threw four straight balls to Alexei Ramirez—who had no intention of swinging—before being pulled in the seventh. Grant Balfour entered and got Carlos Quentin to hit a soft ground ball to Scott Sizemore at third, whose throw sailed past Jemile Weeks into the outfield to allow the Sox to take a 4-3 lead. Sizemore's decision was terrible even if he made an accurate throw—his angle was far too difficult to justify doing anything but throwing to first. Paul Konerko singled home the fifth run, giving the White Sox a two-run advantage they sorely needed in the ninth.
Thanks, Brian O'Nora! We owe you one.