The Chicago White Sox put the kind of game together that could have won them the American League Central Division.
Too bad it was a week too late.
As the Detroit Tigers clinched the AL Central Title Monday, Chicago blew the doors off of Cleveland in the later innings to coast to an 11-0 victory. The division flag is no longer even a pipe dream. Of course, only with their season all but over did the White Sox show up to play like the season was on the line.
Over a nightmarish two-week stretch that saw Chicago go 3-10 while losing a three-game advantage, the White Sox needed help from the back end of the rotation along with some hitting with men on base. Either one on a given night could have won a couple of ball games.
Monday night, they managed to deliver both.
Hector Santiago tossed seven innings of one-hit ball, striking out 10 and picking up his fourth win of the season. If Santiago had brought out this game last week when he faced this same Indians club, it might have made a difference.
White Sox bats woke up in the top of the sixth, scoring four runs. It would prove to be all Santiago and the bullpen needed, which is why they were able to pile on seven more, including six in the final frame.
Chicago was 8-for-15 with runners in scoring position Monday. Those eight hits were more than the White Sox had come up with in similar situations through most of the last two weeks.
Those six runs would have come in real handy in more than a few contests back when it mattered more. Santiago may possibly be posturing for a shot at the rotation next spring. However, it's hard to get over excited about a one-sided win under the circumstances.
Detroit's 6-3 win in Kansas City has put an end to any last-ditch scenarios. The White Sox led the AL Central for 126 days, but it is the Tigers who are celebrating. Performances like Monday's win proved a day late and a dollar short for the White Sox.