LIVE: White Sox trailing Tigers, 8-0

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LIVE: White Sox trailing Tigers, 8-0

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Posted: 1:50 p.m.

Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers signed veteran Brad Penny in the offseason to help bolster a starting rotation led by three-time All-Star Justin Verlander.

While Verlander remains a worthy ace, Penny has yet to step up.

Seeking his first win of the season for the fifth time, Penny takes the mound opposite onetime Detroit starter Edwin Jackson as the Tigers and visiting Chicago White Sox continue their three-game set Saturday.

Verlander, whose 85 wins since 2006 rank third in the majors, gave up three runs and struck out eight over seven innings of Friday's 9-3 win over Chicago (8-12).

Detroit starters have posted a 3.09 ERA in the four games since Penny (0-2, 8.44 ERA) last toed the rubber.

The right-hander, now in his 12th season, will look to regroup Saturday after allowing five runs, four hits and four walks in five-plus innings of Sunday's 5-1 loss at Oakland.

The defeat dropped Penny, who has never faced the White Sox, to 0-6 with a 6.89 ERA over his last nine starts dating to last season, but manager Jim Leyland isn't concerned.

"Penny was OK," Leyland told the Tigers' official website. "He had control problems in the one inning, but I don't worry about him at all."

The Tigers (10-10), who have outscored the White Sox 53-20 during a seven-game winning streak in this series, had averaged just 3.2 runs at home prior to Friday's offensive outburst, which was the first time this season they'd scored more than five runs at Comerica Park. Detroit has won three straight at home, and seven of 10 overall after a 3-7 start.

Utilityman Ryan Raburn homered for the second time in as many games and drove in a season-best four runs.

Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is 6 for 13 over his last four games overall, and 6 for 21 (.286) lifetime against Jackson (2-1, 3.51), who surrendered season-worsts of 11 hits and four runs over seven innings in a 5-0 loss at Tampa Bay on Monday.

"Jackson threw the ball pretty good," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We just didn't score any runs."

Other than two solo home runs from outfielder Carlos Quentin and one from first baseman Paul Konerko, the While Sox couldn't get much going offensively again in the series opener. They've batted .199 while dropping eight of their last nine games.

"Twenty games is way too early to be worried about our team," said White Sox starter Mark Buehrle, who gave up six runs to take the loss Friday. "We aren't clicking right now, but we will be."

Slugging designated hitter Adam Dunn and second baseman Gordon Beckham, who was slotted eighth in the lineup after batting second in his first 17 games, both went 0 for 4. Dunn and Beckham have a combined three hits in their last 46 at-bats.

Dunn is 6 for 31 lifetime against Penny with 16 strikeouts, but Quentin and Alex Rios are a combined 14 for 22.

Jackson, who went 13-9 while with Detroit in 2009, is 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in four career road starts at Comerica.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Slumping White Sox get huge boost after Miguel Gonzalez 'defended his ground'

Slumping White Sox get huge boost after Miguel Gonzalez 'defended his ground'

Every factor but one suggested there was no way Rick Renteria would remove Miguel Gonzalez in the seventh inning on Monday afternoon.

Of course, Gonzalez didn’t know that.

But even as he walked to the mound with two on and no outs in the seventh and Wrigley Field roaring, Renteria didn’t have any intention of pulling Gonzalez.

Trades and injuries have given the White Sox manager even less wiggle room with which to work than the one-run lead Gonzalez was trying to protect. As long he was convinced his pitcher was game, Renteria would stay with Gonzalez. Gonzalez acquiesced and soon thereafter the White Sox were on their way to their first victory since July 8. The White Sox topped the Cubs 3-1 and in doing so snapped a nine-game losing streak.

“I just went in there to reaffirm that we were thinking the same way,” Renteria said. “He was thinking the same way. It was kind of easy.

“He said ‘I got this.’ He defended his ground.”

[Such a mighty wallop: How does Matt Davidson's mammoth home run stack up?]

Even though he had a front-row seat for the conversation, catcher Kevan Smith had little understanding of what transpired. The rookie said Renteria and Gonzalez spoke entirely in Spanish after Jon Jay and Javier Baez singled to open the bottom of the seventh inning. Smith heard Renteria mention to Gonzalez that lefty David Holmberg was ready to face switch hitter Ian Happ. Beyond that, all Smith heard from Gonzalez was ‘bueno’ and ‘listo,’ and Renteria was headed back to the visiting dugout.

But you don’t have to be a linguist to decipher what issues the White Sox pitching staff faces after a trying month.

Prior to Gonzalez pitching into the eighth, the White Sox hadn’t had a starter complete seven innings since June 16. An already overworked bullpen has also had to deal with season-ending injuries to Zach Putnam, Nate Jones and top relief prospect Zack Burdi. And those issues have been even further compounded by the trades of Jose Quintana, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in the past 12 days.

So even though Gonzalez was on the verge of facing the top of the Cubs order a fourth time, Renteria had to stick with him so he could save top relievers Dan Jennings and Anthony Swarzak for later.

“I said ‘Just give me the ball,’ ” Gonzalez said. “ ’I’m OK. I’m fine. I’m feeling OK.’ Just walked away and I was able to get out of that jam. That was a big one.”

Smith was also happy with the decision. He liked how Gonzalez — who threw strikes on 73 of 105 pitches — had competed. Smith thought Gonzalez had great stuff and heard positive reviews from opposing hitters.

“(Gonzalez) had it,” Smith said. “The guys were coming up to the plate saying this guy has got some stuff today. It was a big moment to kind of prove that he can be a long guy, especially late in the game like that. Big pressure situation. Obviously it was getting pretty rowdy, but he stayed composed and pitched his way out of it.”

First was a five-pitch strikeout of Happ that ended with a swinging strike on a curveball. Jason Heyward then popped out to shallow center for the second out. Kris Bryant worked a five-pitch walk to load the bases. But Gonzalez jumped ahead of Anthony Rizzo in the count 1-2 before he got the star first baseman to fly out deep to center to strand the bases loaded.

Gonzalez returned in the eighth and retired one more hitter before he exited after a Kyle Schwarber single. The effort was plenty for Renteria and the White Sox, who also wiggled out of jams in the eighth and ninth inning.

“Sometimes you just don't have any other option,” Renteria said. “You just have to do what you have to do. They had a really good idea of how they wanted to attack those guys. …

“Miggy did a really nice job.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Sox win game one of Crosstown Series

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Sox win game one of Crosstown Series

Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun Times), David Haugh (Chicago Tribune) and Ben Finfer (ESPN Radio) join Kap to go over the exciting first game between the White Sox and the Cubs.

Plus, the latest on trade rumors linking Justin Verlander and Alex Avila to the Cubs. Do the Cubs really need to make another move?

Finally, the guys discuss whether Kyrie Irving asking for a trade out of Cleveland is the dumbest career choice, ever.