But the Sox bought themselves some time in a record-setting manner in an 11-10 victory over Minnesota in 13 innings.
After the Twins scored six times to snap a 4-4 tie in the ninth inning, the Sox equaled that outburst as Jim Thome slugged his 496th career home run and Darin Erstad hit a game-tying double to cap the rally. This marked the first time in franchise history the Sox entered the ninth trailing by six runs or more and came back to tie or take the lead, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"A few fans are going to wake up and say, 'They won this game? How'd that happen?'." Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
The Sox pulled out the victory when A.J. Pierzynski hit a bases-loaded single with one out off Juan Rincon that gave rookie Heath Phillips his first major-league victory in a game that lasted 4 hours 29 minutes.
"I just got the [beer] shower," said Phillips, who later was handed a ball and lineup card as mementos.
Pierzynski's single came one play after second-base umpire Joe West ruled that second baseman Nick Punto's throw pulled shortstop Jason Bartlett off the bag on a force play.
"We've battled all year long," Thome said. "Things haven't gone our way. [But] this one is kind of nice."
The victory briefly eased some of the anguish of looking for ways to avoid finishing with the major leagues' worst record and dramatically improve next season.
In a move that could dictate the return of Joe Crede at third base, Guillen said he and bench coach Joey Cora suggested to general manager Ken Williams and farm director Alan Regier during a meeting before Friday night's game that Fields report to the Instructional League in Arizona to polish his skills in left field.
The Instructional League runs Sept. 22 to Oct. 13, so Fields could report after the Sox season and play at least 10 games.
The Sox haven't proposed that plan yet to Fields, a very coachable athlete who has started only 11 games in left after playing nearly his entire professional career at third. He went the entire 13 innings without making a putout in left.
"It's better for him to get better in the outfield," Guillen said. "It doesn't mean he's going to be our left fielder, but be prepared just in case that's the scenario."
Fields has proved he belongs somewhere in the Sox's lineup in 2008, based on his 18 homers since his June 6 promotion.
Meanwhile, since being promoted from Triple-A Charlotte on July 17, Wasserman has provided some stability to a bullpen that has struggled.
Despite throwing in the mid-80-m.p.h. range, the sidearm-throwing Wasserman has limited right-handed batters to a .155 batting average and posted a 1.45 ERA in his last 23 games.
"One thing about it is his cold blood," Guillen said of Wasserman's fearlessness. "He doesn't care who is hitting or what the situation is. He goes out there and throws strikes. He has a good makeup."
But for the second consecutive game, a ninth-inning throwing error led to trouble. This time it was a miscue by third baseman Alex Cintron that led to the Twins' six-run ninth.