DENVER -- Carlos Quentin raced down the third base line headed toward a bang-bang play at the plate that never happened.
Quentin scored on A.J. Pierzynski's ninth-inning sacrifice fly when the throw home short-hopped catcher Chris Iannetta, lifting the Chicago White Sox to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.
"It's a big run," Quentin said. "I was getting ready for a collision, he was getting ready for a collision, I'm sure. But it was a tough hop and I saw it bounce up."
Quentin and Paul Konerko hit singles off Huston Street (0-2) to start the ninth with Quentin getting to third on Konerko's hit. Street struck out Alexei Ramirez before Pierzynski, who had an RBI double earlier, drove a fly ball to right field.
Seth Smith ran in to make the catch but his throw bounced near the third base line and Iannetta's attempt to snag the ball came up empty, allowing Quentin to cross the plate unscathed.
|More on White Sox at Rockies|
"You make a throw like that, that bounces right in front of him by his feet and explodes up on him with a runner bearing down on him, that's a nearly impossible play. It's a miracle if there is a catch and tag," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. "It's tough game to lose because we played very competitively."
Smith said the throw home was complicated by his sprinting catch.
"I was trying to make it a longer hop but running in and not knowing exactly where you are on the field makes it a little tougher to throw," Smith said.
The White Sox, who had lost three of their previous four, including a 13-inning loss in the series opener on Tuesday, happily accepted the change in fortune.
"Right now, the way we play, we're not scoring that many runs, we have to take a chance," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We're struggling at the plate right now so you have to take as many chances as you can. You have to send him. That [win] was huge for us."
Sergio Santos got three outs -- two on strikeouts -- for his 16th save in 18 chances.
Colorado missed a chance to take the lead in the eighth with the game tied 2-2.
The Rockies loaded the bases with one out and reliever Brian Bruney (1-0) then induced Ty Wigginton, whose bloop single drove in the winning run in Colorado's 13-inning victory Tuesday night, to ground into a double play.
Chicago starter Mark Buehrle had won 10 consecutive interleague decisions and came in with a major league-leading 24 wins in interleague play. Staked to a 2-0 lead against Colorado ace Ubaldo Jimenez, he appeared to be on course toward another victory.
But Jason Giambi broke up Buehrle's shutout bid with two outs in the sixth inning, when he drove his 1-2 offering into the bleachers in left field for his ninth home run to pull the Rockies within 2-1.
Colorado evened the score on Wigginton's leadoff homer in the seventh, marking the first time this season Buehrle had given up multiple homers in a game.
One out later, Ryan Spilborghs singled and went to third when Buehrle's errant pickoff throw got past Konerko at first base. The wild pickoff throw ended a string of 51 consecutive errorless starts by Buehrle, who has won a Gold Glove in the previous two seasons.
The White Sox got to Jimenez for two runs in the fourth, taking advantage of a lapse in Jimenez's control. Jimenez walked Juan Pierre to start the inning and after retiring Brent Morel on a flyout, hit Quentin with a pitch. Konerko followed with an RBI single and Pierzynski had a run-scoring double with two outs.
Both Jimenez and Buehrle went seven innings and were not involved in the decision. Buehrle allowed seven hits and two runs with two walks and four strikeouts. Jimenez allowed two runs and four hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Rockies 1B Todd Helton, who is one shy of his 2,000th career game, was given the night off. He's expected to play in the series finale on Thursday. ... Buehrle's pickoff of Wigginton at first base after walking him in the fourth inning was his major league-leading 78th pickoff since the start of the 2001 season.