Morel powers White Sox past Indians

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Morel powers White Sox past Indians

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011Posted: 10:52 p.m. Updated: Friday, Sept. 9, 12:16 a.m.

Associated Press

Box score Photo gallery
Read: Lillibridge breaks hand, out for rest of season
Sox Drawer: Thome close to finish line?
Watch: The White Sox and Yankees remember 911

Brent Morel is finding his power stroke.Morel hit two homers and Paul Konerko had a grand slam, lifting the Chicago White Sox to an 8-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.Morel hit a solo shot off Indians starter David Huff (2-4) in the third and a three-run homer off Frank Herrmann in the seventh - both on the first pitch. It was Morel's first career multi-homer game and his four RBIs were a career-high."I was fortunate enough to get a couple of good pitches there and I didn't miss them," Morel said.Three of Morel's five home runs this season have come in the last week."I would have liked to have hit a little bit better," Morel said. "I'm not really going to worry about it, just worry about finishing strong."Konerko's 10th career grand slam tied Robin Ventura's White Sox record and capped Chicago's seven-run seventh."I was just trying to get the ball up and get something out to the outfield," Konerko said. "Just one of those, he threw and I hit. You don't really know what you did."Gavin Floyd struck out four and held Cleveland to one run and five hits in 5 23 innings. Matt Thornton (1-4) retired all four batters he faced, striking out three.Huff gave up three runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out five, as the Indians lost their fourth straight."You leave the ball up and these guys are going to hit it out," Huff said. "I told him (Hermann) to keep his head up and you'll probably be in there tomorrow or the next day and be ready to go."Both clubs were recently swept by first-place Detroit, giving the Tigers a commanding lead in the AL Central and virtually reducing this weekend's series into a battle for second place.Putting a further damper on a matchup that had lost its once-anticipated luster, a misty rain began to blow across the field during the top of the third and fell for much of the game.The small, subdued crowd at U.S. Cellular Field saved its biggest cheers for Cleveland's Jim Thome, whose RBI single in the first scored Asdrubal Cabrera for the game's first run.The White Sox honored Thome in a ceremony before the game in recognition of his 600th career homer, which he hit on Aug. 15. Thome, who played for Chicago from 2006 to 2009, also received a standing ovation before his first plate appearance."Last couple of weeks, this guy is swinging the bat a lot better," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "More power and most consistency. The ball is jumping off his bat right now."Morel tied the game with a homer to left-center in the bottom of third. Later in the inning, Juan Pierre singled for his 2,000th career hit, also earning a nice ovation as he tipped his cap. Pierre, 34, became the 268th big-leaguer to reach the milestone."Juan is probably consistent guy I've ever been around, as far as the way he comes to prepare every day to play," Konerko said.Despite holding the Indians to one run, Floyd fell behind a number of hitters working from a slippery mound, running up his pitch count. At one point in the sixth, he requested that the field crew come out and apply sand around the pitching rubber.Floyd departed after throwing 112 pitches, giving way to Will Ohman, who got Thome on an inning-ending grounder with a runner on first."You look up and you've got like 70 pitches in the third inning, you're kind of scratching your head," Guillen said. "In the meantime, sometimes you have to just (forget) that pitch count and go out there looking for zeroes. That's what he did."Huff pitched into the seventh, when he allowed a walk and a single to begin the inning. He struck out Tyler Flowers before giving way to Herrmann, whose first pitch Morel hammered into the left-field bleachers.Herrmann allowed a walk and a single before being replaced by Josh Judy, who hit Brent Lillibridge with a pitch and gave up Konerko's grand slam. The White Sox scored seven runs on just four hits in the inning.The White Sox's win was muted by the postgame news that Lillibridge suffered a broken bone in his right hand when he was hit and will miss the rest of the season.
NOTES: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said that RF Carlos Quentin (sprained left shoulder) will likely return to the lineup over the weekend. ... Cleveland rookie 2B Jason Kipnis, a Northbrook, Ill., native, singled in his first big-league game in his hometown. He was injured the last time the Indians were in Chicago. ... Indians manager Manny Acta said 1B Matt LaPorta would likely be back with the club in the "next couple of days." The former first-round pick was sent to Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 29 after struggling to a .238 average in 97 games. ... Cleveland's Jeanmar Gomez will square off against Chicago's Mark Buehrle on Friday. Buehrle allowed a season-high eight runs in his last outing.Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

White Sox upset by the call that led to ejections of Todd Frazier, Rick Renteria

White Sox upset by the call that led to ejections of Todd Frazier, Rick Renteria

Todd Frazier wasn’t pleased with a call Saturday afternoon that led to the first ejection of his career.

It’s not that the White Sox third baseman is arguing about whether or not he deserved to get thrown out in the seventh inning of a 10-2 loss to the Oakland A’s. Frazier is more miffed by first-base umpire Sam Holbrook’s initial ruling --- that his throw pulled Jose Abreu off the bag --- and the determination by replay officials that the call was correct.

Frazier was ejected shortly after word arrived that the call stands, which means officials in New York didn’t believe they have enough evidence to overturn the original ruling. That fact bothered Frazier, who was charged with an error and began to speak his mind. White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected shortly thereafter for the third straight home game.

“It’s just frustrating with the technology we have today,” Frazier said. “It’s just crazy. It boggles your mind. It really does. You know -- I’m the one. I’m vocal. I’m emotional. But when it’s wrong, 100 percent wrong. I saw it on the MLB Network. I saw it in our cameras and our computers. I just don’t understand how we can see it and they can’t see it in New York. It’s just, it’s frustrating as all hell to be honest with you. It turned into a big inning. We were down a lot, don’t get me wrong. But still, Jake (Petricka) is pitching his heart out and next thing you know he gives up an unearned run and two more runs. So it’s really not that hard. Honest. It’s not that hard.”

Renteria raced onto the field in an attempt to save Frazier from a quick ejection, but didn’t have enough time. It was the third home game in a row in which a White Sox player was ejected for the first time in their career. Tim Anderson got the boot on Friday night after he argued with plate umpire Jim Wolf. And Avisail Garcia got tossed from the June 15 series finale against the Baltimore Orioles.

Renteria said taking into context who his players are and their track record made him want to further defend their actions.

“I don't ever go into a situation arguing with someone to get thrown out,” Renteria said. “I don't. I think what happens is, like anybody emotionally, when you start talking and expressing yourself, you have a tendency to get heated. You don't plan on doing that. I certainly don't go out there planning on having that happen. I think what happens, and I think it's just human nature, you start thinking about the whole situation, you're losing a player. You're losing a guy that's supposed to be in there for the next two, three innings to help you maybe continue to chip away. Our team has been fighting every day, since day one of spring training. I don’t care what our record is, I don't care what the score is, we fight. And when you take one of those pieces out of the lineup, you get pissed.”

Even though he had a chance to cool off, Frazier still felt the same after the contest. He stuck his head into the team’s video room after the game to check out the play. Teams have a variety of angles from which they can determine whether or not to challenge a call. They also have the option of taking a freeze frame and magnifying the picture, which left no doubt in Frazier’s mind that the call was incorrect.

“Like I said just frustrating,” Frazier said. “It’s just not that hard. And with all the technology like I said, I don’t mean to repeat ourselves, but with all the technology and 8 different angles it’s just one of those things where I just can’t let that go. It turned into a huge inning. You never know. We were down 6 we coulda came back. You gotta be 100 percent. You gotta be 100 percent right on that and I really don’t think he was.”

How a fan's kind gesture surprised Mark Buehrle on his big day

How a fan's kind gesture surprised Mark Buehrle on his big day

It’s one of the more iconic moments in White Sox history, and now Mark Buehrle has a key piece of memorabilia after a fan’s kind gesture.

Already overwhelmed by a series of gifts from the White Sox on Saturday afternoon, Buehrle was in disbelief when 17-year-old Tommy Maloney walked onto the field during a number-retirement ceremony and presented him with the flipped-through-the-legs ball from 2010 Opening Day.

The memento was one of four gifts Buehrle received from the White Sox along with a new truck, a four-seat All-Terrain Vehicle and a personalized piece of art created by White Sox outfielder Ron Kittle commemorating many of the highlights of the pitcher’s White Sox career. It was just another part of an overwhelming, emotional day for Buehrle, who was honored for his 12 seasons in a White Sox uniform.

“Pretty cool,” Buehrle said. “I don’t recall signing it for him when it happened. I don’t really remember where it went. But one, for him to give that up, that was pretty awesome.”

Maloney’s father, Matt, contacted the White Sox earlier this month to see if Buehrle wanted to meet with the fan who had the ball from a moment in White Sox history that has been replayed thousands upon thousands of times.

The Maloneys also reached out to the White Sox back in 2010, too. They informed the club they had the ball that Buehrle retrieved and flipped through his legs to Paul Konerko, who caught it with a barehanded to retire Cleveland’s Lou Marson in the fifth inning of the April 5, 2010 contest. Buehrle autographed the ball in 2010, but neither he nor the White Sox asked for Tommy Maloney, who was 10 at the time, to hand it over.

“At that point it’s just a cool ball, it’s not part of White Sox history,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox vice president of sales and marketing.

As he looked for a unique artifact for Buehrle to offer another layer to Saturday’s ceremony, Boyer came across Matt Maloney’s most recent email. He definitely thought Buehrle would have interest in reuniting with the fan who held a key artifact from a play that has become legendary around these parts over the years.

But Boyer also asked if the Maloneys would want to donate the ball to Buehrle.

“We didn’t have the unique thing,” Boyer said. “We just didn’t have it.

“Here it is.”

How it had gotten in Tommy Maloney’s hands in the first place was interesting enough. The Munster, Ind., high schooler said his father got tickets for the 2010 season opener and he left school early to watch Buehrle, his favorite pitcher as a kid. The seats were in the first row behind the far right edge of the White Sox dugout, the same ones he was in for Saturday’s ceremony.

After the improbable play to steal a hit from Marson, Buehrle fell to his knees, which brought manager Ozzie Guillen out of the dugout. Somehow Guillen retrieved the ball and upon returning to the dugout, flipped it to Maloney, who had earlier asked him for a ball several times. Even though it was a prized possession, Tommy Maloney said he’d have no problem surrendering it again if he were asked.

The White Sox rewarded Maloney for his sacrifice as club chairman Jerry Reinsdorf determined that the youngster would present Buehrle with the ball on the field. But the White Sox didn’t tell Maloney he would present the ball until Saturday, surprising him with the news about an hour before the game.

“It’s awesome the way it played out,” Maloney said. “He’s such a great guy. He was hugging me in the dugout. He looked at me when I went up there to give him the ball and said, ‘Give me a hug.’ ”

Maloney not only stood on the field before the ceremony, he had a chance to briefly meet Buehrle in the dugout. He also received another autographed baseball. And after he was applauded by the sellout crowd, several fans stopped by Maloney’s seat to pose for a picture.

Buehrle was touched by the gesture.

“I was like, ‘Brooks, we’ve got to do something here,’ ” Buehrle said. “’He can’t just give the ball and walk out of here empty-handed.’ So I ended up signing him a ball and I don’t know if we have something else in mind, but it was pretty awesome.”