Chicago White Sox closer Sergio Santos delivered the inevitable. After Santos garnered his sixth blown save of the season by giving up a home run to Detroit Tigers pinch-hitter Alex Avila in the ninth inning, he lost the game for the White Sox, giving up a double to Miguel Cabrera, and then a run-scoring single to Carlos Guillen in the 10th inning.
It was only a matter of time.
White Sox fans had to wait until the ninth inning—after the White Sox had sustained a three-run lead that made it appear temporarily that the White Sox would snap the Tigers' hot streak—to fold and allow themselves to be clubbed, swept and made victim to the Tigers' 12th straight victory.
The win gave the Tigers their longest winning streak in 77 years. Losing their fourth straight game and 10th in the last 15 games, the White Sox took their second straight sweep at the hands of the Tigers and a 5-13 season record against the Tigers.
What is more significant is that the meltdown put the White Sox on the verge of elimination. The White Sox fell 13.5 games behind the Tigers with the loss on Wednesday with 13 games left for the Tigers and 14 games for the White Sox.
One more win for the Tigers or one more loss for the White Sox will put White Sox fans out of their misery concerning any wild thoughts of a Tigers spiral out of first place that might put the White Sox in the division lead. Then, White Sox fans will have roughly a dozen games in which to watch prospects such as Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza and Addison Reed try to impress Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams in an attempt to posture for next season.
The 2012 season is unequivocally the focal point for the White Sox now. The aforementioned prospects are receiving their playing time. Perhaps Alex Rios can now take a seat on the bench so that Brent Lillibridge or Tyler Flowers can find playing time in the remaining meaningless games.
Two positive items came in the White Sox loss. First, Paul Konerko earned his sixth 100 RBI season with a two-run single in the second inning. Second, Dylan Axlerod earned the first quality start in his major league career, allowing two runs and striking out eight in six innings.
Unfortunately, Axlerod's glimmering effort was all for naught. The White Sox have been feverishly waving the white flag in recent games. Imminently, the White Sox will have an "E" for elimination next to their name in the standings.