Successful challenge helps White Sox force extras

Alexei's infield single in ninth paves way for Gillaspie's tying pinch-hit homer

Successful challenge helps White Sox force extras

BOSTON -- An out call on an Alexei Ramirez grounder to first base was overturned leading off the ninth inning on Thursday thanks to a successful challenge by White Sox manager Robin Ventura in an eventual 4-3 loss to the Red Sox in 10 innings.

With Chicago trailing the Red Sox, 3-1, Ramirez hit a slow roller against Boston closer Koji Uehara to first baseman Mike Napoli, who made the play ranging far to his right. Napoli had to wait for Uehara's slightly late cover at first, and by the time Uehara got to the bag, the fleet-footed Ramirez managed to beat the play by a half step -- despite the initial ruling from first-base umpire Cory Blaser.

Ramirez immediately signaled safe as he crossed the base and quickly gestured to Ventura to challenge the call.

Ventura's challenge worked in the White Sox favor, as Ramirez was awarded first base and an infield single. After Paul Konerko took a called third strike, pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie followed with a game-tying homer to right. It was Gillaspie's second career pinch-hit homer, his fourth homer in his last 24 at-bats and his third in his last seven at-bats after beginning the season with 224 consecutive homerless at-bats.

"Conor coming in with a pinch-hit home run. He's been hotter than all get-out lately," White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton said. "And it's good to see him coming through and hitting with some power."

That overturn helped bring about the tie, but the White Sox couldn't finish off the victory.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.