Streaking White Sox win sixth straight game

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Streaking White Sox win sixth straight game

Friday, July 9, 2010
Updated 11:31 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

CHICAGO On the night the Chicago White Sox learned that ace hurler Jake Peavy would indeed be lost for the season, they found themselves facing a herky-jerky lefthander who pitches as if hes detaching his latissimus dorsi with every toss.

Kansas City Royal Bruce Chen indeed lofted up a fair share of hittable Wiffleballs to the plate on Friday, falling down deep into the rabbit hole that the U.S. Cellular Field pitchers mound has become for opposing pitchers and losing to the white-hot White Sox, 8-2.

Chen had more luck pitching to first base, with two pickoffs, than he did to home plate, and was rewarded for his soft tosses with a shower after just 65 pitches.

Meanwhile the Chicago 9 played a pedestrian game, again striking early and once more finding themselves the beneficiaries of a stellar starters effort, this one coming from old hand Mark Buehrle.

But oh, how quiet and passive much of this game was. The men in black are clearly bored with all the winning, what with six in a row, 19 of 23, 23 of 28, and who knows how many other Sudoku puzzle combinations theyve amassed this summer.

And after the game, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen cheekily acknowledged the doldrums of winning, chastising assembled media for a lack of engaging questions: You guys are shocked were winning. When were losing, you guys have 30 questions for me!

Ah, Ozzie, living la dolce vita comes at a cost. Even the scribes must guard against the delicious malaise of a limitless winning streak.

Sure, there was a home run, from A.J. Pierzynski in the fourth, to run Chen. And then another, in the eighth, a three-run blast for the catchers first multi-homer game since 2008. The Campbells Soup Kid left shortly after games end, but his skipper knew just how much the clouts meant.

A.J. was really struggling, Guillen said. He really needed this game.

There was even a near-homer from Andruw Jones to plate two in the second, a screaming double that dented the outfield wall some six feet short, leaving the Curacaoian still one round tripper shy of 400.

I thought I got it, but it was a changeup and the topspin knocked it down, Jones said.

There was spiffy defense, including Gordon Beckham playing mini-Willie Mays to dash out to gather a short pop from Scrabble master Yuniesky Betancourt and a couple of afterburner flies snagged by turfeater centerfielder Alex Rios.

And pitching, yes, there was some of that. Buehrle celebrated his first start with 10 Chisox seasons under his belt by earning his eighth win of the season to get back above sea level. It was an unmasterfully exasperating, anesthetically efficient seven-plus inningstypical Buehrle, 114 pitches that insomniatic Royals hitters will ViewMaster through while staring up at the ceiling tonight.

Buehrle nearly didnt last long enough to see the win. In eerie reminiscence of three days earlier, when Peavy snapped a muscle and walked off the mound and into muscle rehab, K.C. leadoff man Scott Podsednik drilled the starter with a line drive for the first hit of the game. After a lengthy powwow on the mound with Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper, while 25,572 fans turned blue holding breath, Buehrle ignored his rapidly numbing fingers to finish out the inning with little other negative fanfare.

I told him not to hit is so hard next time, is how Buehrle recounted scolding Podsednik, a teammate over two separate White Sox stints. Then hes on first, dancing back and forth for 20 pitches. I told him, Just go, steal, so I can stop throwing over to first.

Wunderkind fireballer Sergio Santos came on relieve Buehrle in the eighth. One guesses that with the ease the southpaw put on display for the first seven, he simply got tired of the baseball game and retired to the clubhouse for some Twittering, or Super Mario Bros.

Nevertheless, it was frying pan to the fire for the City of Fountains, as Santos dismissed the Royals in the eighth with a mere eight tosses.

In the bottom half, Paul Konerko golfed a gapper to the wall in right-center to plate Rios, Chicago momentarily believing they were paid by the hour in an attempt to extend the game. Two batters later, Pierzynski launched his bomb to right to put the White Sox up by a hard eight and qualifying the game as an official laffer.

White Sox reliever Jeff Marquez came on for his major league debut in the ninth and coughed up a two-run homer to Betancourt, but thankfully for the rookie, the Royals had already long retired from this game.

The Triple Play

Saturdays Pitching Probables (6:10 p.m., WGN)

White Sox RHP Gavin Floyd (4-7, 4.43 ERA)

Royals RHP Brian Bannister (7-6, 5.54 ERA)

Super Sox

A.J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with two homers and four RBI, snapping an extended slump and raising his average to .243. Funny, you wonder whether when things are going well and the backstops characteristically crucial feistiness is less necessary, Pierzynski flags a bit. Come dog days, as the Chisox need some help digging deep, the Campbells Soup Kid is sure to stand up and be counted.

White Sox Notable Numbers

The White Sox have won six straight, 12 of 13, 19 of 23, and 23 of 28 Their five losses over the last 28 games have been by a total of eight runs, and none of the five losses were by more than two runs They are 12-1 in their last 13 at U.S. Cellular Field The starters are 18-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 26 quality starts in their last 29 games and a 1.77 ERA in the eight games since July 2 Pitchers allowed their first run in 18 innings and first earned run in 31 innings Buehrle is 5-1 with a 2.23 ERA in his last six starts, and is now 21-11 with a 3.56 ERA in his career vs. K.C. Konerko is hitting .359 with six homers and 30 RBI in his last 35 games Carlos Quentin is batting .341 with seven homers and 14 RBI in his past 14 games.

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

Preview: Jose Quintana, White Sox look to win sixth straight game on CSN

Preview: Jose Quintana, White Sox look to win sixth straight game on CSN

The White Sox take on the Kansas City Royals on Monday, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins at 7 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: Jose Quintana (13-11, 3.21 ERA) vs. Chris Archer (8-19, 4.02 ERA)

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Todd Frazier, Miguel Gonzalez propel White Sox past Rays

Todd Frazier, Miguel Gonzalez propel White Sox past Rays

Todd Frazier reached the 40-home run plateau on Wednesday night and now his eyes are trained on 100 RBIs.

Frazier’s seventh-inning solo home run not only extended his hitting streak to 12 games, it provided the game’s only offense in a 1-0 White Sox victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in front of 12,976 at U.S. Cellular Field. Frazier became only the seventh player in franchise history to hit 40 homers in a season with his 394-foot drive off Rays pitcher Eddie Gamboa. The blast offered Miguel Gonzalez and David Robertson just enough support as they combined on a three-hit shutout. Robertson recorded his 37th save in 44 tries.

“It’s a big deal any time a guy rounds off that number,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “It’s always a big deal for you. He’s been wanting to get there for a while. I don’t know if you guys know, but he’s been talking about it for a while. I know I’ve heard it a lot. He’s been aiming for that. He wants to get 40 and 100 and especially if it counts like it did tonight and gets a guy a win.”

Frazier entered the game hitting .305/.374/.568 with six homers and 14 RBIs in September, easily his best month of the season. His homer came on a cold, windy night in which offense was at a premium.

The game was delayed for 21 minutes by rain, which continued through the first inning. The rains came again in the bottom of the third inning and delayed the contest for another 76 minutes.

Tampa’s third pitcher of the night, Gamboa’s 76-mph knuckleball caught too much of the plate and Frazier planted it about eight rows beyond the left-field bullpen with two outs in the seventh.

“Not many people have hit 40 home runs in a year so it’s a good feat to have,” Frazier said.

“It’s a great feat to have. I had a bunch of people text me ‘It’s coming. Today is the day.’ It wasn’t that much pressure. It was just a matter of knowing that it’s there and I’m glad to get it over with and now it’s on to another goal of mine.”

Frazier has never driven in 100 runs in a season. His 98 RBIs this season are nine more than his previous career high of 89 that he set in 2015.

Gonzalez hadn’t pitched into the ninth inning since he threw a four-hit shutout on Sept. 3, 2014. To get there he had to stay loose and sharp throughout the second delay of the night. Gonzalez threw twice during the delay, a total of 25 pitches in the indoor cage, and stretched to stay loose.

But being his final start, Gonzalez wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. He returned after the delay and was remarkable. He had stretches where he retired eight in a row in the middle and nine straight into the ninth before he yielded a one-out single to Logan Forsythe.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

He allowed three hits, walked none and struck out five. Gonzalez threw strikes on 71 of 102 pitches.

Robertson took over and needed only one pitch to record the save as Kevin Kiermaier grounded into a game-ending double play.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been out there for the ninth inning,” Gonzalez said. “It took me two years to get there, but they were swinging early. I made some good pitches early on. Got some quick outs, that’s what you got me to the ninth inning.

“Staying loose was really the most important thing for it.

“I was mentally prepared. Obviously you can’t get away with it. It was my last start. I was going out no matter what and didn’t give in and the results were there.”