Sox blast Indians to complete sweep

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Sox blast Indians to complete sweep

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com contributor

The weather on the South Side finally caught up to the red-hot Paul Konerko and the White Sox offense.

With a record-setting temperature in the mid-90s, the Sox pounded out 15 hits and wrapped up a three-game sweep of Cleveland with a 12-6 victory Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field.

Konerko hit his 400th home run in a White Sox uniform while extending his hitting streak to 13 games. He finished with two hits and four RBIs to raise his American League-leading batting average to .399.

Alexei Ramirez and Orlando Hudson each had two RBIs, while Gordon Beckham added four hits for Chicago, which won its fifth straight game to pull to within 12 game of the AL Central-leading Indians.

The White Sox have scored nine runs or more in four consecutive games, their longest streak since June 27-30, 1938, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Gavin Floyd (4-5) won for the first time in three starts, but didnt look good doing it. He gave up five runs on 10 hits in five-plus innings. He had four strikeouts, but hit three batters.

He was better than Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez, however. The Sox put the first four batters on base against Jimenez, who was chased in the fifth inning.

Alejandro De Aza was hit by Jimenezs second pitch, Gordon Beckham singled and Adam Dunn drew a walk to load the bases. De Aza scored when Paul Konerko followed with a blooper into right field that turned into a fielders choice after Dunn was thrown out at second.

Alex Rios then ripped a single to score Beckham. After Dayan Viciedo lined out to right, Alexei Ramirez poked a run-scoring single to give the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Floyd gave that lead back in the second on a three-run home run to Johnny Damon. Floyd allowed a single to Casey Kotchman and a double to Shelley Duncan ahead of Damons first home run of the season.

The Sox regained the lead in the third on an two-out single by Ramirez to score Rios, who had walked and stolen second.

But Floyd gave that back right away, too. Michael Brantley drove in Juan Diaz, who opened the fourth with his first major-league hit, a single to right.

That set the stage for more Konerko heroics in the bottom of the inning. Konerko drove a 2-2 pitch into the left-center bleachers for his 11th home run of the season and 408th of his career. The rally started with a two-out single by Beckham and walk to Dunn.

Jimenez (5-4) was chased after allowing a lead-off single to Viciedo. He gave up seven runs on seven hits with four walks, one hit batter and three strikeouts.

The Sox added three more in the fifth on a two-run triple by Orlando Hudson, followed by another triple from De Aza, who was thrown out at home trying to score when the throw got away at third.

White Sox likely will place 2B Brett Lawrie on disabled list

White Sox likely will place 2B Brett Lawrie on disabled list

The White Sox will "probably" place second baseman Brett Lawrie on the disabled list before Wednesday’s Crosstown game at Wrigley Field, manager Robin Ventura said.

Lawrie initially was diagnosed with a tight left hamstring July 21 against the Detroit Tigers, causing a firestorm of speculation he had been traded when he was removed from the game. He was initially considered day-to-day after undergoing an MRI on Friday, and manager Robin Ventura said before both Monday and Tuesday’s games against the Cubs he could’ve been available in an emergency. 

But Lawrie suffered a setback sometime Tuesday, and with two games under National League rules at Wrigley Field requiring more bench pieces, Ventura didn’t want to head to Clark and Addison short-handed. 

“It just seemed like he was going backwards today, during the game, of his knee,” Ventura said. “There's no way you can go over there and play the National League rules with nobody on the bench.”

[MORE: Shields picks up bullpen as White Sox top Cubs again]

Infielder Carlos Sanchez was removed from Triple-A Charlotte’s game Tuesday night and is expected to replace Lawrie on the White Sox roster. 

Lawrie is hitting .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs and 22 doubles over 94 games this season. 

Tyler Saladino has done well in his short stint in the starting lineup since Lawrie’s injury, going 4-15 with a walk. His walk-off single on Monday netted the White Sox their third win in what now is a four-game winning streak, the team’s first since May 6-9.

Tonight on CSN: Crosstown Classic shifts back to Wrigley Field

Tonight on CSN: Crosstown Classic shifts back to Wrigley Field

The Crosstown Classic continues on Wednesday at Wrigley Field as the White Sox square off against the Cubs on CSN Chicago. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 6 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Anthony Ranaudo (1-0, 17.18) vs. Jason Hammel (9-5, 3.35)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

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'Bulldog' James Shields picks up White Sox bullpen in win over Cubs

'Bulldog' James Shields picks up White Sox bullpen in win over Cubs

James Shields offered a taxed bullpen a significant boost on Tuesday night.

It was the sort of performance that earned him the nickname “Big Game” earlier in his career.

The right-hander pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings and the White Sox offense did enough for a 3-0 victory over the Cubs in front of 39,553 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Shields lowered his earned-run average over his last seven starts to 2.11 as he worked around four hits and four walks with five strikeouts. The White Sox won their fourth in a row, including their second straight over the Cubs, and in doing so retained the Crosstown Cup. David Robertson recorded his 24th save in 28 tries with a perfect ninth.

“This is the guy we were thinking of when we got him,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He came up big tonight, especially the way the bullpen is. I know he takes a lot of pride in that, he really does, of going out there and going deep into games. This is another one that we needed and he came through for us.”

An individual turnaround that began June 23rd in Boston reached its apex on Tuesday.

Since an atrocious three-start introduction to the White Sox, Shields has rediscovered some of the form that made him one of the top starters in the American League for the better part of a decade.

With the bullpen in need of a huge lift after throwing 19 1/3 innings in the previous four games, Shields delivered. White Sox relievers recorded only four outs and threw 19 pitches at time they needed it most. A number of close games and Chris Sale’s skipped start Saturday have White Sox relievers working in shifts to rest.

Shields provided that breather.

“He was a bulldog today, man,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “He came out there and did what he had to do, saved the bullpen a little bit. You saw him out there. He was yelling at everybody, getting everybody fired up. That’s all you can ask for from him.”

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All Shields could request of his teammates is to spare a few runs. They produced three for a pitcher who entered the game ranked 130th among 138 qualified starters with a 3.2 runs-per game support average.

Jose Abreu made it 1-0 in the first with an RBI single to score Adam Eaton, who hit a solo homer in the fifth off Kyle Hendricks. Tyler Saladino also forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk, the third straight free pass issued by reliever Travis Wood.

Shields took advantage of the limited support and put himself in better position to pitch deep into the game with quick innings in the fourth and fifth. At 56 pitches after three, Shields needed only five to retire the side in the fourth and nine more in the fifth.

He had more than enough to get out of trouble in the sixth inning. Having retired 12 of 13 into the sixth, including the first two outs, Shields walked Addison Russell and Jason Heyward singled. But Shields -- who also got Dexter Fowler to pop out on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and the bases loaded in the second inning -- retired the dangerous Javy Baez on a foul ball down the left-field line to keep the White Sox ahead by two.

“They worked the count in the second inning,” Shields said. “I had a few walks there. We had La Stella out, but he had catcher’s interference. I probably threw a little extra that inning, and I had to get myself back in the game as far as pitch count, and I ended up doing that the very next inning.”

The ability to make big pitches and pitch deep into games stems from the comfort Ventura thinks Shields has rediscovered on the mound. The stretch of four starts, including his last with the Padres, in which he allowed 31 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings and was singled out by his former team’s owner for poor performance, couldn’t have done Shields any favors. But little by little, Shields has worked his way back.

Shortstop Tyler Saladino said the renewed confidence is easy to see when Shields is on the mound. Saladino said Shields will engage his infielders and even position them at times, knowing and trusting where they are.

“He starts to feel that confidence that he’s making his pitches, he’s getting his outs, he’s in charge,” Saladino said. “And when you’re behind him watching all that going on, and he’s giving you feed back when you come back in, you just know that he’s locked in. So you just go with it, the flow of him and everything.”