CHICAGO -- Orlando Hudson, you just hit a walk-off single to give the White Sox a 4-3 victory over Toronto and avoid a three-game home sweep before 25,743 at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday.
So, how are you going to celebrate?
To be honest, the veteran Hudson didn't sound in a very euphoric mood even after delivering the two-out single to center off Francisco Cordero (1-3) to score Dayan Viciedo. He still was preoccupied with a misplay at third base in the second inning on a Mike McCoy single that allowed two runs to score.
Hudson didn't really want to focus much on the hit after the White Sox 15th win in their last 19 games.
"[I'm] not even talking about that situation," Hudson said. "Still, I'm down about a miscue, a ground ball that -- [Jake] Peavy was pitching well, and two runs ended up scoring.
"We ended up coming out on top. It was a big win for us after the last two nights, but I got to make some defensive plays after missing some balls."
McCoy's grounder with the bases loaded and one out seemed to hit the lip of the grass and take a wicked hop past Hudson, who played the ball a bit off to the side. That play was the most damaging in Hudson's mind, in that the Blue Jays (30-27) scored all three of their runs off of Peavy during that frame. But it wasn't even close to the strangest of the night involving Hudson.
With two outs and Yunel Escobar on third in the eighth inning, pinch-hitter Yan Gomes connected off of reliever Nate Jones on a hard-hit but fairly routine grounder to third. Ninety-nine out of 100 times, if not 100 out of 100, the third baseman is going to first to end the frame, especially with no force in play.
On this occasion, Hudson decided to fire home. Luckily for the White Sox, Hudson made a strong throw and catcher A.J. Pierzynski was paying close attention, as he caught the ball and tagged out Escobar.
Calling Pierzynski surprised by the throw home would be an understatement.
"Yeah, a little bit," said a smiling Pierzynski, who usually waits for his teammate to make a throw before moving away from home plate in that situation. "I hadn't seen that since I was maybe [8 years old]. But it worked out, we got the guy out and it saved a run."
The decision seemed to indicate that Hudson lost track of the outs. Hudson said it was a conscious decision to go home.
"Yeah, too many miscues," Hudson said. "... I don't want anymore runs to score, throw a ball away at first. Just go ahead and get him out at home."
"He has a lot going on over there from playing the middle of the infield and now being over there, especially squeeze and things that are new to him," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Hudson, who is playing his first Major League games of his career at third with the White Sox. "It's a process with him, and we are sticking with him."
Addison Reed (1-1) earned his first career win by pitching a scoreless ninth, striking out Kelly Johnson with Jose Bautista on second to end the frame, after Bautista lined a two-out double over the glove of Hudson. Before the bullpens took over, Peavy and Toronto starter Henderson Alvarez were locked in a tight battle.
Peavy threw 117 pitches over six-plus innings, allowing four hits and fanning four, but was missing slightly on his usual pinpoint control with five walks and one hit batsman. Alvarez basically made one mistake over seven innings, grooving a 1-0 fastball in the sixth to Alex Rios with Paul Konerko on first, which Rios drove out to left for his sixth homer of the season.
"That fastball up to Rios was the one mistake that cost him," said Toronto manager John Farrell of Alvarez, who induced 12 ground-ball outs with his sinker and retired 12 straight at one point. "He more than did his job. He gave us everything we could have expected."
"Our boys just battled," Peavy said. "That's the M.O. of this team. It could have got ugly early, but it was a great team win."
This also turned out to be a great night for Hudson, as he helped the White Sox (32-25) move back to 1 1/2 games ahead of the Indians in the American League Central. Viciedo started the ninth-inning rally with a one-out single off of Cordero, and then moved to second on a wild pitch.
Viciedo took third on Alexei Ramirez's fly ball to center and came home on Hudson's liner up the middle for the team's fifth win in its last at-bat.
"Those are good wins, those are team wins and those are wins you need if you are going to have a successful season," Pierzynski said. "It was kind of poetic justice for [Hudson] making that play and getting the hit. It was nice. It was fun to have him do that and get to run out there and celebrate."
Don't think for a second the White Sox would have been pointing fingers at Hudson even if they didn't win. This is an even-keeled group that has each other's back, which accounts in part for its place in the standings.
"Tonight was a big one," Peavy said. "But the attitude day in and out is no different. Guys are prepared to find a way to win that given night."