Manager Ozzie Guillen's short-term remedy might not be enough to erase the toughest loss of the White Sox's season.
"I might take a sleeping pill," Guillen said Thursday night after the Sox had blown a five-run lead and lost 7-6 to Minnesota when Alexi Casilla hit a two-out single to score Nick Punto in the 10th inning.
"I will. [Also] a glass of vodka, because I know it's not going to be easy to sleep. My guys have to be prepared. It's not about me."
The defeat knocked the Sox out of first place in the American League Central, a half-game behind the Twins.
After failing to maintain a lead that would have extended the Sox's margin in the Central to 11/2 games and taxing the back end of their bullpen, the Sox face a virtual must-win situation this weekend against Cleveland and a possible makeup game Monday against Detroit. Minnesota plays Kansas City this weekend.
"It [stinks], but we're still alive, and hopefully we go home and win four games and kick their [tails] on Tuesday," A.J. Pierzynski said of a scenario in which the Sox would play host to Minnesota in a one-game playoff if they finish tied for first after Monday.
"I hope people in Chicago still believe we can do this," Guillen said.
The Sox, however, haven't won three consecutive games since Sept. 3-5-6. Thursday's loss completed a 3-7 record on this three-city odyssey.
The Sox's momentum, built solely on a six-run rally in the fourth, gradually eroded. The Sox had only two hits after that and none after the seventh.
In the eighth, Carlos Gomez's RBI single and Denard Span's triple off closer Bobby Jenks tied the game. Jenks was employed in the eighth because Gavin Floyd failed to pitch at least six innings for the first time since Aug. 15, and Matt Thornton was needed to bail Floyd out of a jam.
Guillen said Jenks was his best option to open the 10th. But he walked Punto with one out. Punto moved to second on a groundout and advanced to third on a wild pitch.
Span was walked intentionally, and that set up Casilla's game-winning single to center field that capped the Twins' three-game sweep, sinking the Sox's season record here to 1-8.
"That's why they're the Minnesota Twins," Guillen said. "They played their hearts out."
The tension in the Sox's clubhouse was thick before the game, as Orlando Cabrera drew long stares from teammates during interviews because of continuing comments Cabrera has made about the Sox's body language during their recent skid.
Cabrera tried to lead the way by hitting a solo home run that fueled the six-run rally, and he stole third base with two outs in the seventh before being stranded when Paul Konerko grounded out.
"We wasted 26 innings in this town," Guillen summed up.
Of more importance, however, is how the Sox respond after a deflating loss in which Thornton and Jenks combined for four innings.
"I have a bunch of old guys," Guillen said. "They should know what's going on. They're veterans. They've been in this game for a long time."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun