The White Sox enjoyed the fight Monday, even if they still landed on the deck in a 10-8 loss to American League Central champion Cleveland in their 2008 opener.
Led by Jim Thome's two home runs, the Sox solved nemesis C.C. Sabathia in overcoming a five-run deficit. They received clutch middle relief that was lacking last year.
But they couldn't fully enjoy the moment because of a setback by reliever Octavio Dotel that led to a three-run, game-winning double by Casey Blake and three close calls that went against them.
"There's a fine line in your game where you have to take positives because there's always another game the next day, and you have to be ready to go," first baseman Paul Konerko said.
"But at the same time, we're not a rebuilding team. So our sun has to rise and set with a win or a loss, and this was a loss."
The disappointment came from a wasted effort from a lineup that manufactured five runs off Sabathia and two more off Jensen Lewis to get ace Mark Buehrle off the hook.
Nick Masset, the 25th man on the roster, pitched 41/3 innings of scoreless relief, and Boone Logan pitched a perfect seventh to put the Sox in prime position to seize the win.
At least until a zany eighth inning that saw Joe Crede and Juan Uribe lead off with doubles but the Sox still come up empty. Crede had to make sure Uribe's drive caromed off the wall before breaking off second and was held at third.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Crede broke toward home on Orlando Cabrera's grounder. Indians shortstop Jhonny Peralta made a high throw home, but umpire Gerry Davis ruled that catcher Kelly Shoppach tagged the sliding Crede for the first out.
"[Shoppach] never tagged me," Crede said, and he had to be pushed away by manager Ozzie Guillen after contesting his call.
The Sox were more perplexed when Cabrera was called out for grabbing Peralta's leg at second while sliding over second base on Thome's grounder, thus resulting in an inning-ending double play.
After a brief argument, the Sox agreed with Bruce Dreckman's call.
Nevertheless, Jermaine Dye's solo homer in the ninth fueled their contention that they've distanced themselves from last year's 90-loss team.
"I think if this game was last year, as soon as that first or second inning hits it would have been, 'Oh, we lost, let's pack it in,' " Buehrle said. "Obviously we wanted to come out and win, but it ain't going to make the season."
Although Dotel is the Sox's most experienced reliever, his eighth-inning struggles were reminiscent of the Sox's inability to get to closer Bobby Jenks in 2007.
"[Blake] is a fastball hitter, and I wanted to throw my fastball away," Dotel said. "If I did, I thought I would have a chance to get him out. This time it was right in the middle. He wins this time."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun