If the Sox were watching Friday night, they would have seen the pursuing Tigers had beaten the Indians long before they had taken 10 innings to beat the Angels 8-6.
"You can't control what's going on with the scoreboard but you can control what's going on on the field and in front of you," Ventura said. "A lot of these guys have been through different things in their careers and it shouldn't be too hard to just play."
One of the most veteran of the Sox was their hero Friday, as Alex Rios hit a pair of home runs, including the walk-off, 2-run, one on and one out in the 10th. Rios is hitting .318 with 18 homers and 67 RBIs and could be having his best season ever.
"We haven't finished it yet," he said. "I just want to keep doing what I'm doing and focusing on having good at-bats and winning games. Let's see what happens."
"Rios has been great all year. He's very underestimated, very undervalued," Ventura said. "But for us he has been as solid as anybody in the league. Great at-bat after great at-bat."
The victory, which kept the Sox lead at 2 1/2 games over the Tigers, was their 11th in the last 12 games at U.S. Cellular Field and put them a season-high 11 games above .500.
The winning pitcher was Matt Thornton, meaning that starter Philip Humber was left winless in his last 15 home starts, a franchise record.
"I don't know what it is," he said. "I like the mound here, I like to play here. After we got four runs in the first inning, I felt pretty good about it. But it will come."
Humber actually had a 4-1 lead after one wild inning that included the Angels playing the game under protest.
After the Angels scored a run on three hits off Humber, the Sox put their first three runners on base off Zack Greinke, obtained from the Brewers at the trade deadline.
And that's when the action began.
Paul Konerko slapped a grounder that forced Alejandro De Aza at home. Konerko was safe at first base but Angels' manager Mike Scioscia protested that Konerko should have been called out for running inside the foul line.
The umpires disagreed and Konerko ended up scoring on A.J. Pierzynski's three-run homer, his career-high 19th. The Sox scored their first run on Rios' single that scored De Aza, although Adam Dunn was gunned down while also trying to score.
The Angels came back with two in the second inning on rookie Mike Trout's two-run homer and then took a 5-4 lead in the third when Humber walked two batters and both scored.
Humber's night ended with two outs in the sixth inning when Albert Pujols deposited his last pitch into the left field stands, an advantage that was negated when Rios followed with his 16th homer in the bottom of the inning and De Aza doubled home the tying run in the seventh.
And now the Sox can worry about the final two months, which Ventura knows first-hand can be harder for a team in contention.
"The pressures of playing and outcomes, when you consider the consequences of not playing well and those kinds of pressures, for us we just (need) to play," he said. "I want these guys just playing, not caring too much about what's in front of them."