CLEVELAND — Alexei Ramirez put his future in his own hands Monday night.
Ramirez eschewed the sacrifice-bunt sign and slashed an opposite-field single that led to three runs in the 12th inning and enabled the White Sox to pull out a 6-3 win over the Indians.
"He was two seconds from being in [Triple-A] Charlotte to being a hero," manager Ozzie Guillen quipped. "We need some spark in our offense to get things going."
A giddy atmosphere permeated the clubhouse after closer Bobby Jenks became the second-quickest pitcher in history to earn 100 career saves.
Jenks earned his 100th in 187 games, second only to Seattle's Kuzuhiro Sasaki (160).
"It's probably the best thing that ever happened to me when the [Los Angeles] Angels got rid of me," Jenks said of Los Angeles waiving him in December 2004 and the Sox claiming him. "It was not only a wake-up call, but I got the opportunity to get into a situation where I can find myself where I am now."
The Sox collected a season-high 17 hits, but none was as goofy and as timely as Ramirez's hit after Nick Swisher led off the 12th with a single.
"It was a play I always practice during batting practice," said Ramirez, who said he has worked on that play on his own dating back to his career in Cuba. "When I see everyone [in the infield] moving, I felt like it was a good time."
Orlando Cabrera's fourth hit put the Sox ahead for good, and Brian Anderson capped the rally with an RBI double.
The Sox (28-22) expanded their lead in the American League Central to three games and stretched their road winning streak to six. They won their fifth straight over the Indians.
The Sox's rally from a 3-1 deficit started with Jim Thome's solo homer in the sixth. Thome has hit five of his 10 homers this season against Cleveland.
Guillen hopes the Sox will be able to maximize more offense out of the 17 hits they generated. Slugger Paul Konerko played for the first time in four games and went 0-for-6 but hit the ball with more authority and received an endorsement from Guillen.
"You have to stay with him," he said. "You can't be panicking. I think we need the offense to give the pitchers a little break once in a while. Our pitching has been carrying us all year long. They can't. They're not that good."
The bullpen continued its prowess with six scoreless innings. Scott Linebrink pitched a scoreless ninth, stretching his scoreless streak to 13 games this month covering 121/3 innings. Octavio Dotel has struck out 34 in 202/3 innings this season.
The Indians put the winning run at third with two out in the 10th, prompting Casey Blake to be intentionally walked.
Boone Logan relieved Nick Masset and got pinch-hitter Kelly Shoppach to fly out to right.
"There are a lot of reasons why we're where we are now, but the bullpen is the biggest one," Guillen said.
Jenks had the game ball authenticated after the game and said he will add it to his personal collection that includes balls from his first win, his first save and his first postseason save.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times