Chicago, IL – Alexei Ramirez delivered the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Chicago White Sox made up for an embarrassing late-inning error to defeat the New York Mets, 5-4, in the opener of a brief, two-game interleague series.
LaTroy Hawkins (2-1) took the loss for the Mets. Jeff Keppinger opened the final frame with a single, then advance to second on the reliever's fielding error on Gordon Beckham's sacrifice bunt. Tyler Flowers' fielder's choice ground out moved Keppinger to third and after the next batter fouled out, Ramirez ripped a liner off the chalk down the left-field line for the difference-maker.
The Mets trailed 4-3 in the top of the ninth after Chicago utilized a two-run fifth to take the lead off New York starter Zach Wheeler.
Facing Addison Reed (3-0), David Wright opened up the frame with a single and then stole second. Reed settled down and retired the next two batters via a strikeout and fly out, but things got interesting with Daniel Murphy at the plate.
Murphy appeared to end the Mets' hopes with an easy infield pop out in front of the mound, but Beckham and third baseman Conor Gillaspie botched the can of corn catch and tripped over each other, allowing the ball to fall and Wright to score to tie the game at 4-4.
"I ran in there and screwed it up," Beckham said of the error. "That's what happened. Stupid play for me. My heart was in the right spot, my mind wasn't."
Chicago starter Chris Sale, seeking to snap a career-worst four-start losing streak, quietly struck out 13 batters and allowed three runs on four hits over eight strong frames.
Wright finished with two stolen bases and two runs scored, while Andrew Brown hit a solo homer in the setback, New York's second in three outings.
Wheeler, making his second career start, lasted 5 1/3 frames, yielding four runs on four hits and three walks, but the costly fifth came back to bit the Mets as the White Sox took advantage of the young hurler's inconsistency.
"His fastball's got a life too it, I mean his curveball today, I mean, so much better than his last start," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Wheeler. "Now if he finds the slider to go along with it and finds three pitches, he's going to get a lot of outs."
With the game tied at 2-2 through four innings, Brown opened up the fifth with a blast to right, just his third homer of the season, to give New York a one- run advantage.
In the home half, Beckham singled and stole second, then Wheeler plunked Flowers and allowed both him and Beckham to advance one base on an errant wild pitch. Alejandro De Aza provided an RBI ground out to knot the game and Ramirez came through with a sacrifice fly to right, putting the hosts ahead 4-3.
Eric Young doubled to leadoff the contest and eventually stole third following Wright's walk with one down. Marlon Byrd's sacrifice fly made it 1-0 and, after Wright swiped second, Josh Satin's single scored the Mets' captain to make it 2-0 New York.
The White Sox chipped away in the second and fourth and tied the game.
In the second, De Aza singled, stole second and advanced to third on Ramirez's groundout. Alex Rios' groundout to third was deep enough to score De Aza to cut the deficit to 2-1. Flowers tied the game at the start of the third with a shot to center.
New York fell to 7-2 this year in interleague play ... Ramirez finished with two RBI ... It was Flowers' seventh homer of the season ... Sale finished with 110 pitches compared to Wheeler's 109.