Kepner: Tom Seaver’s double duty for White Sox

From Tyler Kepner at the New York Times on May 4, 2014:

It was right around midnight on the South Side last month, and the White Sox were in trouble. They were tied with Boston in the 14th inning at U.S. Cellular Field, with two Red Sox on base and a rattled pitcher on the mound.

That stood to reason, because the pitcher was an infielder named Leury Garcia, who had never pitched before, not even as a boy.

“Throw it slower,” Robin Ventura, the White Sox’ manager, told him on the mound. Garcia did, and the Red Sox hit a go-ahead double.

After the loss, Ventura explained that he had used all seven of his relievers — including four who combined to get three outs — and did not want a starter to pitch.

Thirty years ago, when the old Comiskey Park stood across the street, a different White Sox manager also ran out of relievers. But Tony La Russa had a better option, one of history’s greatest starting pitchers, who was ordered to put down his crossword puzzle, get dressed and win the longest game — by time — in the history of Major League Baseball.

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Originally published: May 6, 2014. Last Updated: May 6, 2014.