Early on, Sox turning tables on Detroit

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Early on, Sox turning tables on Detroit

The White Sox lost 13 of 18 games against the Tigers last season, and it wasn't particularly close. The Tigers scored 111 runs against the Sox, an average of six runs scored per game and the most allowed by the Sox to any opponent. The season series wasn't a perfect representation of 2011 for the Sox -- they were better than a .278 winning percentage, to say the least -- but it was a key part of the grander scheme of failures for the club.

While it's just two games, that the Sox have already won both contests against Detroit in convincing fashion is somewhat encouraging given what the Tigers did in 2011 and how they look to shape up in 2012.

"This team feels so new and nothing from last year feels a part of last year," captain Paul Konerko explained after Saturday's 5-1 win. "So that's a good thing. But you want to win divisional games. The Tigers are going to be there, they're just too good of a team. They're going to be there. All we can hope is that we're in the mix at the end and that fight too."

But the first three White Sox-Tigers games last year went as follows: 9-3, 9-0, 3-0, all wins for Detroit. To a point, that late-April series set the tone for the season series between the two clubs.

Detroit's offense won't stay down for long, so perhaps this first meeting won't set the tone for 2012. While they've only scored three runs in two games against the White Sox, the abundance of firepower the Tigers possess will show at some point.

"Detroit obviously had a couple big series early on where they swung a lot," Konerko said. "Sometimes you catch a team in a lull, and hopefully that lasts one more day."

That's a prevailing theme in talking to White Sox players about the Tigers. There's a belief that Detroit is an excellent ballclub -- at least on paper -- with little to prove at this point.

"That was one of the more stressful games I had because there's no break in the lineup," catcher Tyler Flowers said. "Every pitch has to be a quality pitch otherwise we're going to get hurt. It's definitely good and nice to get those kinds of wins, but I definitely give the most credit to our pitchers, who held Detroit to just a couple runs. That says a lot."

As Konerko pointed out, the start of the season isn't the first week, it's the first two months. The Sox play Detroit six more times before Memorial Day -- three at home (Sunday, then May 14-15) and three on the road (May 4-6).

"Its nice to start off that way," manager Robin Ventura said. "It is April, though. But its better than losing those games and trying to say its still a long season and we hope that doesnt carry."

These two wins are a fantastic start, but the tone for the season series still has plenty of time to change early on.

"All I know for sure is that those two games are over, they're in the books," Konerko said. "Other than that, I don't know anything else."

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

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White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

Cubs can't complete another miracle comeback against Giants bullpen

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

How Bears are using veteran videos to school rookies on NFL way

Luis Robert the latest high-end acquisition for White Sox

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Have the Cubs found their new leadoff hitter in Ben Zobrist?

MMQB's Peter King's thoughts on Trubisky, Howard, White and the Bears offense

White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

PHOENIX -- The red-hot White Sox ran into Zack Greinke on Monday night.

He cooled them off in a hurry.

Greinke struck out 12 hitters and Daniel Descalso blasted a three-run home run off Miguel Gonzalez as the Arizona Diamondbacks sent the White Sox to a 5-1 loss in front of 18,333 at Chase Field. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the White Sox, who had scored 24 runs in their final two games against the Seattle Mariners.

“(Greinke) keeps the ball down out of the zone a lot,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s kind of enticing. He keeps the ball in the hitter’s area and it ends up falling out. It’s one of those things that you’ve got to try to get him up. Our approach was to try to make him throw a lot of strikes. He ended up hammering the strike zone early and then finally he just came into a groove.”

Descalso’s three-run shot off Gonzalez was one of two pitches the White Sox right-hander would have liked back. After Gonzalez walked Chris Owings with two outs in the fourth inning, his only free pass of the night, he left the curveball over the middle and Descalso deposited it in the right-center field stands to break a scoreless tie.

He also left a pitch up to Paul Goldschmidt in the sixth inning and the All-Star first baseman ripped it for a solo shot.

But overall Gonzalez rebounded from his previous two starts when he walked nine batters. He was sharp for three innings as he faced one over the minimum. He just missed to Owings in the fourth, which brought up Descalso.

Gonzalez allowed five runs (four earned) and seven hits in five innings.

“You see what happens when you walk guys,” Gonzalez said. “That wasn’t in a good situation to walk the guy. You have to keep grinding, keep making my pitches. Really two pitches were the ones that hurt me tonight. A lot of positives. Nothing to worry about. Keep working hard and things are going to go my way.

“Sometimes things don’t go your way. Those two pitches, if I take those back, you never know. It’s a different ballgame.”

Not only did Greinke strike out a dozen hitters, he limited the White Sox to four hits in 8 2/3 innings.

Omar Narvaez had two hits, the first coming after Greinke opened the game by retiring seven straight batters. Leury Garcia homered off Greinke with one out in the fifth inning to break up his bid for a shutout.

It was quite the turnaround from when the White Sox bashed Yovani Gallardo and Chris Heston on consecutive days in Seattle. The White Sox scored a combined nine first-inning runs in winning three of four against the Mariners.