Sox clobber Indians, win fourth straight

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Sox clobber Indians, win fourth straight

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com contributor

Not even the pitcher with the best ERA in the American League could slow down the White Sox offense.

Sparked by a career-high five RBIs from Dayan Viciedo, Chicago rocked starter Derek Lowe in a 14-7 victory over Cleveland on Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field. The Sox had season highs in runs and hits (17).

The Sox, who clinched its third consecutive series victory, won for the eighth time in nine games and extended their home run streak to 12 games. They scored four runs in each of the first, third and seventh innings, then added two in the eighth.

Alex Rios went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI despite being robbed of an apparent homer in his first at-bat. Paul Konerko had four hits, drove in two and scored three times to raise his AL-best batting average to .396.

Lowe allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 2 13 innings against an offense that continues to pound the ball. Lowes ERA climbed from 2.15 to 3.25.

What looked the makings of a great pitching matchup never materialized as Lowe wasnt alone in his struggles. Jake Peavy, who came in with the ALs third-lowest ERA, gave up seven runs on six hits in 6 13 innings. Peavy walked one and struck out nine in a 113-pitch effort.

The Sox rocked Lowe from the start, scoring four times in the first inning, and doing it in rare fashion -- without a home run.

Four singles and a double scored four runs against Lowe. Konerko scored Gordon Beckham with Chicagos third consecutive one-out single.

It appeared Rios would clear the bases with a long drive, but Michael Brantley robbed him with leaping catch over the fence just to the left of the 400-foot sign in dead center.

The only extra-base hit of the inning came next on a run-scoring double by A.J. Pierzynski, his 11th RBI in the past 10 games. Viciedo followed with an RBI two-run single to give the Sox a 4-0 lead.

The Indians waited until the third to attack Peavy. A walk, single and hit batter loaded the bases and Brantley cleared them with a double to right-center, cutting Chicagos lead to 4-3.

Northbrook native Jason Kipnis followed with a two-run home run as Peavy labored through a 37-pitch inning after he had retired the first seven batters he faced.

The Sox quickly regained the lead on back-to-back lead-off doubles by Dunn and Konerko, followed by a Rios single. Viciedo clubbed his 10th home run to score Rios and make it 8-5.

Viciedo extended his home run streak to a career-high three games.

Kipnis struck again in the fifth with another two-run home run off Peavy. It was Kipnis first career multi-homer game.

But the Sox pulled away in the seventh with another four-run inning, highlighted by a Rios double to score Konerko. Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza also had RBI in the inning.

Konerko wasnt done, however. His ground-rule double into left-center field in the eighth gave him a perfect day at the plate (four hits, one walk). He was replaced by a pinch-runner and left to a standing ovation.

Rios followed with a deep home run to right, his fourth of the season.

White Sox offense struggles in front of Quintana in shutout loss to Twins

White Sox offense struggles in front of Quintana in shutout loss to Twins

The White Sox haven’t had many big hits in their last dozen games.

The White Sox never seem to deliver any timely knocks in Jose Quintana starts.

Those two forces collided in a 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night in front of 22,072 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Quintana allowed two Brian Dozier home runs, including a decisive three-run shot in the sixth inning, and dropped a seventh straight decision. His offense finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position as Kyle Gibson twirled seven scoreless innings.

Outfielder Melky Cabrera also left the game early with a sore left wrist.

“We didn’t do nothing as hitters,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “We have to find a way. We had an off day. Everybody was nice and relaxed coming back. We’re professionals here as hitters. We have to find ways to get guys in.”

The White Sox didn’t have many shots against Gibson.

They butchered those that they did.

No opportunity was bigger than the third inning, which began with singles by J.B. Shuck and Tim Anderson in front of the team’s 2-3-4 hitters. But Gibson delivered and the White Sox failed yet again.

Down 1-0, Adam Eaton couldn’t move the runners over as he flew out to center. Jose Abreu followed suit and flew out to center before Cabrera — who left in the top of the seventh and is listed as day-to-day — popped out to second.

One inning earlier, Brett Lawrie was stranded in scoring position when Gibson got Avisail Garcia to chase a two-strike pitch off the plate and in the dirt. It was more of the same in the fifth when Eaton flew out to center with a man on second. And again in the seventh when Shuck flew out and Anderson grounded into a fielder’s choice with two aboard.

“It started out well,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You get them on there. Any time we seemed to get something going against Gibson, he just really started going soft and using your aggressiveness against you. I think that's part of what played into it. He had a very good changeup, he used his curve when he had to. He went a little bit backwards. Any time we got into an aggressive count, he just took a little off. We couldn't get anything going against him.”

The team’s effort was the continuance of a nasty trend.

The White Sox are 12-for-98 (.122) with runners in scoring position in their last 12 games. The lengthy slump dropped them from hitting a formidable .260 with RISP, which ranked in the top half of the league, to below .240, which ranks in the bottom third.

That the performance arrived with Quintana on the mound should come as no surprise.

Whereas the White Sox scored 25 runs in Quintana’s first seven starts, they’ve relapsed into their old non-scoring selves whenever he takes the hill. Over his last nine starts, Quintana has had nine runs of support.

The left-hander said the lack of support isn’t something he focuses on because it’s out of his hands.

“I don’t have control on the runs,” Quintana said. “I say the same every time. But I don’t have control, man. I try to keep going. I try to be better next time and keep going. Next time be better out there, better outing and better everything.

“I never think about that. I just try to pay attention and do my job, focusing on throwing the ball well and that’s it.”

Quintana made two mistakes in seven otherwise solid innings.

Dozier’s solo homer to leadoff the second inning gave the Twins, who improved to 25-51, a one-run lead.

Eduardo Nunez then led off the sixth inning with a single and stole second base. He advanced to third on a passed ball. Quintana then walked Joe Mauer and Dozier made him pay when he got enough of a 2-1 curveball low and in to drive it out for a three-run homer and a 4-0 lead.

Quintana — who is 5-8 despite a 3.18 ERA — allowed six hits, walked one and struck out eight.

“I’m sure inside he’s frustrated,” Frazier said. “I would be too. He’s a competitor, gives it his all. One bad pitch.”

Tonight on CSN: White Sox continue series with Twins

Tonight on CSN: White Sox continue series with Twins

The White Sox take on the Twins on Wednesday evening, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with first pitch at 7:10 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: James Shields (2-9, 6.22) vs. Ricky Nolasco (3-5, 4.95)

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

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White Sox: Justin Morneau continues to progress, could start rehab next week

White Sox: Justin Morneau continues to progress, could start rehab next week

Justin Morneau is pleased with his progress and if it continues he could be headed out on a rehab assignment next week.

With his former team in town Tuesday, the veteran said he would travel with the White Sox to Houston over the weekend and figure out the next step if all in his rehab goes well. Morneau, who had elbow surgery last December, said he felt good headed into Tuesday’s workout after he took two days of batting practice over the weekend. The ex-Minnesota Twins player doesn’t anticipate he’d return to the lineup until sometime after the All-Star break.

“As long as everything goes good through the rest of this homestand and then in Houston, I think we’ll kind of assess where we’re at there,” Morneau said. “Everything so far up to this point, every time we’ve increased the activity and increased the intensity of it, everything has reacted well. Hopefully, it continues to go that way.”

Morneau expects he’d need a lengthy rehab once he gets underway. Not only does he have to acclimate to game speed once again — “there’s only one way to really find out,” he said — but Morneau needs to build up his endurance. He actually has worked hard to be prepared for that, he said, knowing he won’t have a month like spring training. And, Morneau also has to get his swing back in order after a layoff since the end of last season.

“I don’t know how many days that’s going to take,” Morneau said. “Once I go on a rehab assignment, I can’t see it being less than 30 at-bats before I’ll be ready. But who knows, I could feel great after 20 or whatever. But to say less than that would probably be pushing it a little too much.”