Garcia wins final start, reaches a dozen in 2010

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Garcia wins final start, reaches a dozen in 2010

Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010
Updated 11:41 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Leading off the second inning for the Boston Red Sox, noted slugger David Big Papi Ortiz laid down a bunt, attempting a single. Known more for clearing the table than setting it out, possibly even unable to outdash noted Chicago White Sox speedster Paul Konerko, the genial giant was retired by some two dozen steps on his sneak attack on the White Sox infield.

Later, Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski chided Ortiz, his former Minnesota Twins teammate, for his attempt at smallball, which earned him sunflower seeds tossed in derision from the Bosox bench.

Just a week or two ago, both Soxes were engaged in high-stakes, do-or-die fights for their playoff lives, but with both teams now eliminated from the postseason, tension gave way to relaxed play when the two teams tangled on Wednesday night.

Long after the seed wars, the White Sox used a three-run seventh to vanquish the Red Sox, 5-2. Freddy Garcia was outstanding in his final start for Chicago, hurling seven-plus innings of four-hit, two-run ball and registering his 18th quality start of the season, a percentage trailing only John Danks on the vaunted White Sox staff.

I wanted to finish strong, like I said before, show them here and everybody else I still can pitch, said Garcia, who raised his season record to 12-6 and his career mark vs. Boston to 8-2. I missed two starts with my back, but Im battling. Ive always been that way. I try to do my job, and today that was essential.

I said in spring training that if Freddys healthy, hes going to produce, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. Hes been doing that all his career. He was a very good pitcher before his shoulder injury and then he had to change everything; he was a power pitcher, and now he has to throw strikes, change speeds and be a very smart pitcher.

The winning rally began with a leadoff infield hit by Alejandro De Aza and was advanced by a soft bloop to left field by Juan Pierre. Omar Vizquel battled Red Sox starter Josh Beckett to 2-2, then lined a sharp single to center, scoring De Aza. Brent Lillibridge, subbing in the game for Carlos Quentin who withdrew with an ankle injury, then dropped down a sacrifice bunt that was so well-placed it drew an overthrow from catcher Victor Martinez, allowing Pierre to score from second. After A.J. Pierzynski was intentionally walked to load the bases, Alexei Ramirez tapped a single just out of the reach of Bosox shortstop Jed Lowrie, plating Vizquel and putting the White Sox up, 4-2.

We took advantage of Beckett, we moved guys here and there, a lot of hit and run, bunt, Guillen said. We made him throw a lot of pitches and the last couple of days weve been good at that.

But with the bases full, nobody out and Hideki Okajima on in relief of Beckett, Manny Ramirez looked at a called third strike and Mark Kotsay grounded into a double play, falling to 0-for-25 against lefthanders this season.

We even let Beckett off the hook a couple of times, Guillen said. We knew we were facing a good one, and overall we did a good job.

Scoring had opened in the fourth, the Red Sox striking with a double by Marco ScutaroBostons first hit of the gameand Ortizs two-out tapper down the left-field line, stymieing the defensive shift against him. Pierzynski answered for the White Sox in the bottom half, nudging out a towering fly that dropped mere feet beyond the 335 sign on the right-field wall.

In the eighth, Bostons Lowell slugged a solo shot that cut the White Sox lead to 4-2. Chicago countered with a couple of singles and a double-play off the bat of Pierre that plated Brent Morel and finished the games scoring at 5-2.

Matt Thornton came on for another what-new, inning-plus effort, tossing 1 13 perfect innings for his eighth save.

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

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yoan Moncada can’t complain much about his first hit with the White Sox.

Given all the elements, it rates about a 9 1/ 2 out of 10. Only a homer would have been better.

Baseball’s top prospect continues to look comfortable at the plate and in the field. Two days after he made his team debut, Moncada earned his first hit when he ripped a two-out, bases-loaded triple early in Friday night’s 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Moncada finished 1-for-4 with four RBIs.

“Once I got that first hit, I felt relieved,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “First, because it was the first one. And second because of the situation. It was a three RBIs triple. It was a very big moment of the game. I think that from now on I’m going to feel more relaxed and comfortable.”

Moncada has put together a series of good plate appearances in his first two games. He’s looked at ease while in the box and hasn’t panicked even when he gets behind in the count. Moncada said he felt even more comfortable when he stepped in to face Royals starter Ian Kennedy in the third inning. Not only was it his second time facing Kennedy, but Moncada sat in the on-deck circle as Matt Davidson drew a 10-pitch walk to load the bases with two outs.

Hitting left-handed, Moncada fell behind 0-2 in the count but Kennedy hung a 78-mph knuckle curve and the rookie lined it deep into the left-center field gap to clear the bases. Moncada not only showed his power, he also showed off his wheels: his 11.24 seconds from home to third was the fastest time by a White Sox player this season, according to MLB Statcast.

“He's seeing the ball,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He seems pretty calm, composed out there. It's just a couple of days, but in terms of how he's carrying himself, his body language, he seems to be transitioning pretty well up to this point, first couple of days.”

Moncada said Friday was much calmer than his Wednesday debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he drew a walk and went 0-for-2. The switch-hitting second baseman had an RBI groundout in his first at-bat Friday to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Then he stood in and tracked Kennedy with Davidson at the plate.

All in all, Moncada’s happy with how he’s executed his plan at the plate thus far. He said he choked up on the 0-2 pitch and put a good swing on it.

“That at-bat gave me more time to see in real life his pitches,” Moncada said. “I’ve been feeling very comfortable. In Chicago, that first game, it was a little bit nervous. But overall I feel very comfortable hitting and with my defense.”

Is it time for the White Sox to call up Reynaldo Lopez?

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USA TODAY

Is it time for the White Sox to call up Reynaldo Lopez?

With Yoan Moncada now with the White Sox and making an early impact, White Sox fans may be wondering which highly-touted prospect is next to join the big league roster.

Reynaldo Lopez is certainly making a strong case for himself in Triple-A Charlotte. Lopez, one of the pitchers the Sox received from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade, gave up one run in six innings for the Knights on Friday night. That was the latest in a string of five strong starts for the 23-year-old.

In Friday's 2-1 loss against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, Lopez struck out six and allowed just two hits and one walk. That's five straight starts for Lopez in which he has allowed two or fewer runs while pitching six or more innings.

Here's his last five starts:

June 29 vs. Columbus: 6 2/3 innings, 1 run, 11 strikeouts, 1 walk, 6 hits

July 4 at Durham: 6 innings, 1 run, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 5 hits

July 9 at Louisville: 6 innings, 2 runs, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, 7 hits

July 16 vs. Gwinnett: 7 innings, 1 run, 12 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 hist

Tonight at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: 6 innings, 1 run, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 hits

Loepz has a 3.65 ERA on the season with 107 strikeouts in 106 innings against 40 walks and 90 hits. In a short stint in the majors last season, Lopez had a 4.91 ERA in 44 innings in six starts and five relief appearances for the Nationals.

Does Guaranteed Rate Field await the Dominican right-hander?