Flashback #79: White Sox Blackout Game (2008)
As of 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary on January 3rd, the station has begun to reveal (in chronological order) the Top 100 Chicago Sports Stories that have occurred since they first went on the air 20 years ago. Once all 100 of these “flashbacks” have been revealed, fans will be able to vote for which stories they believe are the most significant in the 20 year history of The Score. To see all of the Flashbacks that The Score has posted so far, please visit 670 The Score’s 20th Anniversary page.
September 30, 2008 – White Sox blackout game
Entering the final Sunday of the season, the fate of the White Sox was still to be determined.
For most teams, that Sunday signified the end of a long regular season. The White Sox, however, weren’t ready for the season to be over.
Chicago found itself in an interesting situation. They needed to beat the Indians at home on that last Sunday of the season (Game No. 161) to force a makeup game against the Tigers on Monday (Game 162.) The White Sox trailed the Twins by one game in the division, so a win against the Indians would force the Tigers to make the trip to U.S. Cellular to make up an early-season rain out.
As fate would have it, the White Sox defeated the Indians, which forced the makeup game to happen. Again, the White Sox beat the Tigers in the final game of the regular season to force a one-game playoff with the Twins.
The White Sox were set to play host against the Twins in the 163rd game of the season — a one-game playoff.
Win, or go home.
To pump up fans for the game, the White Sox marketing department sent out a release urging fans to “blackout” U.S. Cellular Field. Nearly 40,000 fans complied with the request to create a black sea in the stands.
The game was the definition of a pitcher’s duel.
The Twins had a chance to take a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning when Michael Cuddyer led off with a double to left field. Delmon Young’s fly ball moved Cuddyer to third base. Later in the inning, Brendan Harris hit a shallow fly ball to veteran center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. Cuddyer tried to score on the fly ball, but Griffey threw a perfect strike to A.J. Pierzynski, who caught the ball and applied the tag to preserve the scoreless game.
The game wouldn’t stay scoreless for long, however, as Jim Thome launched a 461-foot home run into the shrubbery just to the left of center field off Nick Blackburn.
The White Sox went on to win the game 1-0 in front of an electric, blacked-out crowd at U.S. Cellular Field.
White Sox pitcher John Danks got the win after tossing eight shutout innings of two-hit ball with four strikeouts and three walks on three-days rest.
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