Managers hope for the two-out base hit, humbly pray for the two-out home run.
Jerry Manuel's hopes and prayers came true Saturday night as the feast-or-famine White Sox finally solved Nate Cornejo and the Detroit Tigers 6-2 in front of 32,245 fans at U.S. Cellular Field.
"We term a two-out hit with an RBI as 'golden.' We kind of use that term on the bench. That's an indication that you're fighting until that last out of the inning. That's really big if you're going to be in contention or be a championship club."
Cornejo no-hit the Sox for 62/3 innings and was leading 2-0 before Paul Konerko pulled a sharp single into the hole between short and third. Jose Valentin and Joe Crede followed with base hits, scoring Konerko to make it 2-1.
"[Cornejo] was pitching a great game, but he just forgot to finish it up," Valentin said. "He wasn't throwing that hard. He was throwing at spots with sinkers and changeups. We were aware of what was going on, as far as the no-hitter, when we were on the bench. But we just wanted to get something going. A walk or anything to score."
Tigers manager Alan Trammell summoned left-hander Jamie Walker to relieve Cornejo.
"I didn't want to come out at that point," Cornejo said. "They got three hits in a row after I got two outs. I don't think any starting pitcher at that point is going to want to come out. The seventh inning happened too fast, I think."
Pinch-hitter Tony Graffanino lofted a 2-2 pitch over the left-field wall for his sixth homer of the season and third pinch homer of his career. The three-run shot gave the Sox a 4-2 lead.
"Pinch-hitting, you're sitting there trying to get readythen all of a sudden they tell you're going in," said Graffanino, who came in after Brian Daubach had first been announced as the pinch-hitter for Miguel Olivo. "Then your heart starts to race a little bit."
Graffanino said he was looking for a pitch to hit early, but once he had two strikes on him, he was merely looking to put the ball in play.
"I got lucky," he said. "[Walker] gave me a curveball, and he left it over the plate a little bit."
By the end of the seventh inning, the Sox had scored five runs and strung together seven straight hits off Cornejo, Walker and right-hander Danny Patterson. The seven consecutive hits were the most put together by the Sox since June 3, 1997, at Cleveland.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning on Eric Munson's two-run homer, but the Sox's two-out magic took over in the five-run seventh.
SOX 6, TIGERS 2