Newly selected All Star pitcher Aaron Crow allowed a two run homer to Adam Dunn in the bottom of the eighth inning, then got called for a balk (video of the balk) to bring in the winning run for the Chicago White Sox in a 5-4 final Monday night at U.S.Cellular Field.
Crow gave up a leadoff single to Brent Morel in the eighth and Dunn hit his eighth homer of the season to put the Sox up 4-3. Dunn was hitting .165 coming into the game and hit his first homer since June 12.
Eric Hosmer led off with a homer off White Sox closer Sergio Santos, but second base umpire Alfonso Marquez signaled the ball was in play as Hosmer advanced to third. Royals manager Ned Yost protested and the umpires checked replay, reversing their call, tying the game at 4-4.
In the bottom of the ninth, A.J. Pierzynski hit a pinch hit single off Crow and moved to third after a sac bunt and wild pitch. Former Royal Mark Teahen struck out and Crow walked pinch-hitter Juan Pierre.
With Dunn at the plate, Pierzynski noticed Crow’s front shoulder move while still on the mound. The entire Sox dugout jumped up and home plate umpire Ed Rapuano called a balk, handing the Sox the win.
Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur wasn’t mincing words when talking about what he thought was a bogus call. “I love Ed Rapuano and he’s one of my favorite (umpires), but you better be damn well sure if someone balks when you call a game on that. It’s a shame because you’ve got an All-Star reliever up there, you’ve got Adam Dunn in the box, the crowd was going crazy. It’s a great atmosphere, and you’re going to call a balk to end the game. I just don’t see it. I’ve always respected Ed, he’s always done a great job, but to make that call in that situation, to me, that’s not right. I understand if he drops the ball or blatantly moves, but he’s calling him for flinching when he’s stepping back off the mound. What the hell are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to step off? It’s a disappointing call.”
The Royals let a 3-0 lead slip away after Francoeur hit a two run homer in the first off St. Charles, MO. native Mark Buehrle, and Billy Butler had an RBI single in the third.