No fooling, Sox loss sets record for April futility

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No fooling, Sox loss sets record for April futility

Saturday, April 30, 2011
Posted: 9:12 p.m. Updated: 10:15 p.m.

Associated Press

No. 9 hitter Robert Andino supplied some power, aggressive baserunning and a great play at shortstop to help the Baltimore Orioles send the Chicago White Sox to yet another defeat.

Andino's antics were pivotal in the Orioles 6-2 victory Saturday night, but manager Buck Showalter pointed to the work of reliever Mike Gonzalez as the key.

The hard-throwing lefty pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam with only one run scoring in the sixth. He struck out Adam Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski to stop a potential big inning by the struggling White Sox, who've lost 14 of 17.

"Gonzalez was the star," Showalter said. "Big momentum swing with Dunn coming up there. I said, 'Let it loose, let it hang out, let's go.'

"He's always emotionally into it. Nobody is a robot that doesn't have emotions. Everybody pulls for him. (The offense) fed off his success as much as he did."

Leading 2-1, the Orioles tacked on four runs in the eighth, an inning featuring a passed ball and error on Chicago catcher Pierzynski, some daring baserunning by Andino and a two-run single by Vladimir Guerrero.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen missed the game, completing his two-game suspension for tweeting comments about an umpire after he was ejected three nights earlier in New York. Bench coach Joey Cora ran the team for the second straight game.

With or without their manager, the White Sox can't win and finished April 10-18 - the most losses in April in franchise history. They've dropped four straight.

"The league is not going to be feeling sorry for us or wait for us or nothing. We are going to have to play and play through it and start winning some ballgames," Cora said.

Baltimore's Chris Tillman (1-2), who had to skip his previously scheduled start because of a sore groin, had a 2-0 lead and was pitching well into the sixth when he gave up singles to Alexei Ramirez and Carlos Quentin and walked Paul Konerko to load the bases with no outs.

Showalter went to the bullpen for Gonzalez, who struck out Dunn looking. Alex Rios then hit a fly ball to medium center field and Adam Jones made a strong throw to the plate that appeared to be in time to get Ramirez, but Orioles catcher Jake Fox couldn't hold the ball, making it 2-1. Gonzalez then fanned Pierzynski to end the threat.

Phil Humber (2-3), who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his previous start against the Yankees, had another solid outing, giving up three hits and two runs in seven innings.

"Our job is to gout there and go deep in the ballgame and keep us close and give our offense a chance," Humber said. "Right now we're not scoring a whole lot of runs, but I think that is going to turn around, I really do. I've got all the faith in the world in these guys. ... Hopefully it turns around for us pretty quick."

Andino led off the third with his first homer of the season - and seventh in parts of seven major league seasons - to put Baltimore up 2-0. The Orioles took an early lead when Brian Roberts doubled to lead off the game, went to third on a fly ball and scored on Humber's wild pitch, a low delivery that eluded Pierzynski.

"I wish I could take one pitch back, the one to Andino," Humber said. "Other than that pitch and not being there to cover home in the first inning that kind of bit us there. Other than that I threw the ball pretty well."

Andino also blunted a Chicago rally in the fourth when the White Sox had first and second and no outs. He made a diving stop on Rios' grounder behind the bag and started a double play with a nice flip to Roberts.

"He's been playing good shortstop," Showalter said.

Andino singled in the eighth off Matt Thornton and stole second. When Roberts struck out, the ball got by Pierzynski, who retrieved it and threw low to Dunn at first. Dunn caught the one-hop throw but his relay to the plate was too late to get Andino, who scored all the way from second.

"I came around third aggressive," Andino said. "He might throw the ball. In this game, anything happens.... Once I saw the ball hit the dirt, I made up my mind."

Nick Markakis followed with a single and Derrek Lee walked to load the bases before Guerrero delivered a two-run single past third. Luke Scott's sacrifice fly made it 6-1 and Thornton was booed as he left the mound.

Rios hit his first homer of the season in the ninth to make it 6-2.

NOTES

The Orioles have won four of their last five. ... Guillen said he watched Friday night's 10-4 loss on TV. He said that more difficult than from the dugout because he has to watch replays and can still hear the booing. He said he was in the parking lot and then went home Friday night. "It was painful to watch as a fan," he said. ... Dunn, who underwent an appendectomy and was 7 for 61 over his previous 17 games, got his first start at first base for the White Sox after serving for 20 games as a DH. He went 1 for 4 Saturday night. ... RHP Jake Peavy (shoulder) is scheduled to make his next rehab start on May 5 for the White Sox's Triple-A Charlotte team and throw 100 pitches. ... Orioles' DL update: SS J.J. Hardy (left oblique) hit off a tee, ran the bases and took ground balls Saturday. RHP Justin Duchscherer (left hip) threw 30 pitches in batting practice and said he felt great afterward. LHP Brian Matusz (back) threw 45 pitches in a side session Saturday and reported no problems.

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

White Sox likely will place 2B Brett Lawrie on disabled list

White Sox likely will place 2B Brett Lawrie on disabled list

The White Sox will "probably" place second baseman Brett Lawrie on the disabled list before Wednesday’s Crosstown game at Wrigley Field, manager Robin Ventura said.

Lawrie initially was diagnosed with a tight left hamstring July 21 against the Detroit Tigers, causing a firestorm of speculation he had been traded when he was removed from the game. He was initially considered day-to-day after undergoing an MRI on Friday, and manager Robin Ventura said before both Monday and Tuesday’s games against the Cubs he could’ve been available in an emergency. 

But Lawrie suffered a setback sometime Tuesday, and with two games under National League rules at Wrigley Field requiring more bench pieces, Ventura didn’t want to head to Clark and Addison short-handed. 

“It just seemed like he was going backwards today, during the game, of his knee,” Ventura said. “There's no way you can go over there and play the National League rules with nobody on the bench.”

[MORE: Shields picks up bullpen as White Sox top Cubs again]

Infielder Carlos Sanchez was removed from Triple-A Charlotte’s game Tuesday night and is expected to replace Lawrie on the White Sox roster. 

Lawrie is hitting .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs and 22 doubles over 94 games this season. 

Tyler Saladino has done well in his short stint in the starting lineup since Lawrie’s injury, going 4-15 with a walk. His walk-off single on Monday netted the White Sox their third win in what now is a four-game winning streak, the team’s first since May 6-9.

Tonight on CSN: Crosstown Classic shifts back to Wrigley Field

Tonight on CSN: Crosstown Classic shifts back to Wrigley Field

The Crosstown Classic continues on Wednesday at Wrigley Field as the White Sox square off against the Cubs on CSN Chicago. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 6 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Anthony Ranaudo (1-0, 17.18) vs. Jason Hammel (9-5, 3.35)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.

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— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

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'Bulldog' James Shields picks up White Sox bullpen in win over Cubs

'Bulldog' James Shields picks up White Sox bullpen in win over Cubs

James Shields offered a taxed bullpen a significant boost on Tuesday night.

It was the sort of performance that earned him the nickname “Big Game” earlier in his career.

The right-hander pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings and the White Sox offense did enough for a 3-0 victory over the Cubs in front of 39,553 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Shields lowered his earned-run average over his last seven starts to 2.11 as he worked around four hits and four walks with five strikeouts. The White Sox won their fourth in a row, including their second straight over the Cubs, and in doing so retained the Crosstown Cup. David Robertson recorded his 24th save in 28 tries with a perfect ninth.

“This is the guy we were thinking of when we got him,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He came up big tonight, especially the way the bullpen is. I know he takes a lot of pride in that, he really does, of going out there and going deep into games. This is another one that we needed and he came through for us.”

An individual turnaround that began June 23rd in Boston reached its apex on Tuesday.

Since an atrocious three-start introduction to the White Sox, Shields has rediscovered some of the form that made him one of the top starters in the American League for the better part of a decade.

With the bullpen in need of a huge lift after throwing 19 1/3 innings in the previous four games, Shields delivered. White Sox relievers recorded only four outs and threw 19 pitches at time they needed it most. A number of close games and Chris Sale’s skipped start Saturday have White Sox relievers working in shifts to rest.

Shields provided that breather.

“He was a bulldog today, man,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “He came out there and did what he had to do, saved the bullpen a little bit. You saw him out there. He was yelling at everybody, getting everybody fired up. That’s all you can ask for from him.”

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All Shields could request of his teammates is to spare a few runs. They produced three for a pitcher who entered the game ranked 130th among 138 qualified starters with a 3.2 runs-per game support average.

Jose Abreu made it 1-0 in the first with an RBI single to score Adam Eaton, who hit a solo homer in the fifth off Kyle Hendricks. Tyler Saladino also forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk, the third straight free pass issued by reliever Travis Wood.

Shields took advantage of the limited support and put himself in better position to pitch deep into the game with quick innings in the fourth and fifth. At 56 pitches after three, Shields needed only five to retire the side in the fourth and nine more in the fifth.

He had more than enough to get out of trouble in the sixth inning. Having retired 12 of 13 into the sixth, including the first two outs, Shields walked Addison Russell and Jason Heyward singled. But Shields -- who also got Dexter Fowler to pop out on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and the bases loaded in the second inning -- retired the dangerous Javy Baez on a foul ball down the left-field line to keep the White Sox ahead by two.

“They worked the count in the second inning,” Shields said. “I had a few walks there. We had La Stella out, but he had catcher’s interference. I probably threw a little extra that inning, and I had to get myself back in the game as far as pitch count, and I ended up doing that the very next inning.”

The ability to make big pitches and pitch deep into games stems from the comfort Ventura thinks Shields has rediscovered on the mound. The stretch of four starts, including his last with the Padres, in which he allowed 31 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings and was singled out by his former team’s owner for poor performance, couldn’t have done Shields any favors. But little by little, Shields has worked his way back.

Shortstop Tyler Saladino said the renewed confidence is easy to see when Shields is on the mound. Saladino said Shields will engage his infielders and even position them at times, knowing and trusting where they are.

“He starts to feel that confidence that he’s making his pitches, he’s getting his outs, he’s in charge,” Saladino said. “And when you’re behind him watching all that going on, and he’s giving you feed back when you come back in, you just know that he’s locked in. So you just go with it, the flow of him and everything.”