The postgame celebration Tuesday night was crazy and fitting for a White Sox team that pulled off its most amazing achievement en route to its sixth consecutive victory.
Down to their final out, the Sox rebounded in dramatic style when rookie Alexei Ramirez hit a game-tying home run that barely cleared the left-field fence. Then pinch-hitter Dewayne Wise singled, stole second and scored with a headfirst slide on Orlando Cabrera's single to center field that produced a 3-2 victory over Cleveland in 10 innings.
After being harnessed for 92/3 innings by formidable left-hander Cliff Lee and two relievers, the Sox let out a burst of emotion near the pitcher's mound as they won their eighth consecutive game at U.S. Cellular Field.
"If we want to win, that's the way we have to do it," manager Ozzie Guillen said of the Sox's resourcefulness. "We can't rely on the same guys every day."
Rookie Adam Russell earned his first major-league victory after facing just one batter. He struck out Franklin Gutierrez with a 94-m.p.h. fastball with two on to end the top of the 10th.
But Ramirez got the OK from Guillen to swing on a 2-0 count and his towering shot revived the Sox, who maintained their 21/2-game lead over Minnesota in the American League Central.
"I didn't hit it hard, but I hit it so high I wasn't sure, so I kept running," Ramirez said.
The left-handed-hitting Wise batted for Brian Anderson and pulled a single to right. Wise then took off for second on a breaking pitch and was safe.
After ripping a line drive down the left-field line that landed foul, Cabrera lined a single up the middle and Wise beat center fielder Grady Sizemore's throw home.
"Once you get a clutch hit, people forget about all the times you failed," Cabrera said.
"I just got a good pitch to hit. Everyone did their part."
The Sox improved to 18-12 in games against left-handed starters, though Lee held them to one run in eight innings.
John Danks was just as impressive, as he matched Lee while tying his career high with eight strikeouts. Danks has allowed two runs in his last 26 innings, and he helped his cause by picking two runners off first base.
Danks' only blemish was a first-pitch curve that Kelly Shoppach hit for a game-tying home run in the sixth.
Against a Sox team that led the majors in five offensive categories in June, Lee lowered his ERA to 2.26 and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 13 of his 16 starts.
Danks has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 17 starts.
The Sox were pleased with the depth of their contributions. Third baseman Joe Crede made two exceptional stops in the fourth inning. Thornton was used for the third time in four days because Guillen wanted to give closer Bobby Jenks a break.
The Sox might receive the services of Paul Konerko soon. The Sox first baseman said his left oblique muscle felt better after taking several rounds of batting practice.
The 10th-inning rally allowed Russell to earn the win.
"That's the way you learn to pitch in the big leagues," Guillen said. "It's not pitching in easy games. I want to see what he has."