Floyd hurls another gem as Sox rally late for win

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Floyd hurls another gem as Sox rally late for win

Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010
Updated 10:44 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
BALTIMORE He jogged right into this joke, so no scolds for low blows: Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski definitively answered the question of whether he could clap his hands and run the bases at the same time on his game-tying liner to the right-field corner on Saturday night.

Cheering his hit as he eased into an advance to third base after a game-tying double, Pierzynski suffered one of his less dignified moments on a baseball diamond, caught off-guard by a quick relay throw, failing to slide and turning his ankle while slipping on the slick sack. (The official postgame diagnosis from trainer Herm Schneider was a tweaked left ankle, something Pierzynski is confident he could have finished the game with and would be able to play on tomorrow.) Ramon Castro came on to pinch-run and replace the feisty backstop behind the plate.

No, said manager Ozzie Guillen when asked whether Pierzynskis move was something the catcher learned during Ozzieball drills in spring training. Thats why I took awhile to come out of the dugout. I was like, What was that?

It happened, but we won the game, and its good, said Pierzynski, who was walking freely around the clubhouse and had shed the ice bag to reduce swelling by games end.

But Pierzynski didnt just provide the blooper-reel technicians fodder into the fall, but a lift that Chicagos struggling offense desperately needed, as his wild romp around the bases spurred a come-from-behind, 4-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Ironically, the hit came immediately after a missed ball-four call that had the Chicago bench up in arms.

That was the break we needed, said Juan Pierre, who would single and score the eventual winning run in the next inning. Weve ran into some good pitching, and once we saw A.J. get his hit, there was some relief that we could come back and win this game.

Pierzynski also provided Gavin Floyd with some rare run support, and instead of throwing just long enough to earn a no-decision or hard-luck loss, the scintillating righty took home the win in front of a home crowd that included 20 family members and friends with seven innings of six-hit, two-run, five-strikeout ball. The start marked just the second time since June 2 that Floyd had been flogged for as many as two earned runs.

At first, I thought maybe it was going to be a short one, Floyd said after allowing two runs in the first three innings, uncharacteristic in a two-month stretch (12 starts) thats now seen him sport a 6-2 record with a 1.19 ERA and .205 batting average against. But its nice to come out on top in a close one, whether Im getting the W or not.

I was kind of worried early, Guillen agreed. We werent swinging the bat good and theyve been throwing the ball very good against us, but Im glad we scored some runs for Gavin. Every time he throws the ball well, we dont score any runs for him. Today we did, and he should be very happy.

The winning rally started after Pierzynskis game-tying shot, Pierre going the other way with a leadoff single in the eighth that extended his season-high hitting streak to 14 games. After a pantomime sacrifice bunt by Omar Vizquel, Alex Rios tapped a single to center, scoring Pierre, who luckily for the Sox sprints a tad faster and significantly more steadfast than Pierzynski while running the bases and clapping.

When Alexanybodytries to pull the ball, he tries to do too much, Guillen said of Rios, who has suffered a slump that has seen his average fall below .299 for the first time since May 23. I dont want Alex to try to hit another 20 or 30 home runs, just get the big RBIs. We dont need anybody to try to hit the ball out of the ballpark. If they do, good. But we can score different ways.

After an Adam Jones blastthe first homer off of Floyd in more than 77 inningsand an RBI single by Ty Wigginton that put the Os up a deuce, Carlos Quentin cut the Baltimore lead with a massive blow to dead center in the fourth.

Gordon Beckham supplied an insurance run in the top of the ninth, driving home Alexei Ramirez.

J.J. Putz subbed for Bobby Jenkswho is fighting a slump and some back soreness, and has been a victim of some horrible stumbles in the past vs. Baltimoreto earn his third save in four tries.

It was another great game, just like last night, Putz said. Thats kind of the luxury we have out there, whenever Bobby needs a blow, we can kind of mix and match the way we want to.

It was another all-in rally with a multitude of heroes, but this game did turn out unique in that the games main hero was also the butt of the joke.

I was joking, I finally did something to help around here and I get hurt, Pierzynski said.

Such baserunning isnt recommended, but clutch hitting to snap the White Sox out of an offensive funk? The team will take that, any time.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

Mark Buehrle 'floored' White Sox will retire his number

GLENDALE, Ariz. — He's a little nervous now that he has a speech to make, but Mark Buehrle is enjoying life and has no regrets about retiring from baseball.

Addressing the media for the first time since his final game on Oct. 4, 2015, Buehrle said Friday he's right where he wants to be — at home with his family. Buehrle determined 3-4 years ago he would retire after his contract expired to spend more time with his wife and kids. The pitcher, who will have his number 56 retired by the White Sox on June 24, said he didn't announce his decision to step away because he hoped to do so with much fanfare.

"I knew I was done, that I didn't have the drive any more," Buehrle said on a conference call. "I think a big part of it was missing the family, they weren't up in Toronto the whole season and I think that just kind of drained on me. The reason I didn't say anything — I didn't want all the attention. I've always told people I was a young guy that came into the big leagues unknown. Kind of snuck into the big leagues and I wanted to kind of sneak my way out. That's why I haven't said anything, I haven't talked to anybody, I just kind of let it go. Hopefully one day it was just kind of got forgotten and five years down the road, ‘Where's that Buehrle guy? Is he still around?'"

Buehrle, who won 161 games and completed 200 innings in 11 straight seasons with the White Sox, has spent the past year-plus on his Missouri farm with his wife, Jamie, and two children, "doing what I've been wanting to do for 20 years," he said. 

While he misses teammates and life in the clubhouse, Buehrle is at peace with his decision to retire after 16 seasons. He discovered when watching games last season that he didn't miss playing as much as he expected.

Buehrle joked that he doesn't want many former teammates to attend the ceremony because it means he'd have to speak in front of a larger audience. He promises to keep his speech brief, similar to the way he pitched. The left-hander even joked that he offered to allow his son to make the speech in his stead.

[RELATED: Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox]

Even though he's one of the most popular players in club history, Buehrle was surprised last month when the White Sox informed him of their plans. He'll be the 12th player to have his number retired by the White Sox.

"I was blown away and floored by it," Buehrle said. "It's obviously a great honor. It's something you don't really intend to happen or you don't play for that reason. You just go out there and play. I had a long, successful career there in Chicago. I just tried to do everything right and that's how I was kind of raised and how I went about it. Jerry (Reinsdorf) is kind enough to come with this offer about retiring my jersey. I really don't know.

"I've been joking around with friends saying my jersey is going to be up there next to Frank Thomas. I grew up watching this guy. It doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem like it belongs up there next to his.

"I'm going to be up there with all those numbers and it doesn't seem right, like that's where I belong. I just did what I was supposed to do, had fun with it and lived every day like it was my last. Now my number is going to be up there. I haven't really soaked everything in. It just doesn't make sense right now."

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

Carson Fulmer to start for White Sox in exhibition opener

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox have lined up their first three starting pitchers of the spring starting with Carson Fulmer on Saturday afternoon.

The team's 2015 first-round draft pick received the nod as the White Sox open their exhibition schedule against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. CST. 

Jose Quintana pitches Sunday at home against the Colorado Rockies while Lucas Giolito is set to start at the Cubs on Monday. Fulmer — who went 0-2 with an 8.49 ERA in 11 2/3 innings in 2016 — likened the start to pitching against the Dodgers in a night game last spring in front of a sellout crowd at Camelback Ranch.

"I'm definitely honored," Fulmer said. "It's great. I feel like the coaching staff here stresses that in order to be a good player, you have to put yourself in situations that you are uncomfortable with. I'm not saying I'm uncomfortable with it but it was definitely a unique situation where I can go out there and help us win. So, spring training and the season, our goal is to win and I feel like with the coaching staff putting us young guys in that situation, I think it's going to benefit us."

[RELATED: White Sox not overly concerned about Todd Frazier's injury]

Fulmer is also excited to face his counterpart Saturday, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. 

"That's awesome," Fulmer said. "I've been watching him pitch since I was a little kid. I'm definitely pumped to see him out there. It's going to be awesome. 

"He's one of the best pitchers in baseball. I mean, he's a pitcher that you look up to and for me, it's going to be awesome. I hopefully can keep the scorecard or something."

The White Sox also announced Friday they have signed 25 players to one-year contracts, including Fulmer. Carlos Rodon's one-year deal for $600,000 is the highest of the bunch.