Sweepless in Seattle as Jenks blows another save

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Sweepless in Seattle as Jenks blows another save

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Updated: 2:28 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

SEATTLE You cant dwell on days like this. You cant dwell on them.

As much as Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks admitted struggling to find good answers to his horrific week out of the bullpen, its this mantra, along with the image of his head in hands in front of his locker, that resounds.

Jenks lost his second game in relief in the last four days, spoiling an apparent 11th-inning win by surrendering a one-out, two-run single to Franklin Gutierrez that gave the Seattle Mariners a 2-1 win on Wednesday night.

After the game, a distressed Ozzie Guillen declared the closers role open and that the team would finish games based on situational matchups for the time being.

I get paid to win games, the White Sox manager said. Im going to put the guys out there who have the best shot. Were a better ballclub with Bobby as closer. But we have a few options, and were going to see what those options are.

Omar Vizquels single with two out in the top of the 11th gave the White Sox their brief 1-0 lead. Mariners shortstop Jack Wilson led off the bottom half with a perfect bunt single and was moved to second on an Ichiro Suzuki sacrifice. Chone Figgins smacked a sharp single and stole second to put the winning runs in scoring position when Gutierrez stroked the game-winner.

I feel strong. Things just didnt work out today, Jenks said. Sunday in Minnesota, that was on me. Today I felt good and made pitches.

With this one, theres nothing to do about it. Wilsons bunt hit to start off the inning was goodthe pitch was down, he just put it in the right spot. The ball to Figgins I got in on him, he kept his hands inside well and hit the ball back up the middlehe didnt hit it hard. Gutierrezs base hit, if Alexei Ramirez was playing over it probably would have been right at him.

Before the 11th-inning heroics on both sides, Seattle and Chicago were embroiled in a deliciously swift pitchers duel.

Chisox starter Gavin Floyd pitched seven scoreless innings, notching six Ks against just one walk and five hits. The hurler had just one true close call, coming in the fourth, when Casey Kotchman clocked a Floyd flip down the right-field line that landed a wisp foul. One pitch later, the stalwart righty punched the first baseman out for his second K of the game, ending the inning. Floyd seemingly got stronger as the game went on, striking out the side in the sixth.

Seattle starter Felix Hernandez you know is going to go out there and pitch a good game, Floyd said. Youve just got to focus on what you can to try to do your job.

Until Floyds final inning, Seattle had been stymied by White Sox pitching; in the 16 innings in the series leading up to the Mariners seventh, Chicago had held its opponent to just five hits.

Hernandez was even more masterful than Floyd, using just 93 pitches to cruise through eight innings of two-hit ball. The King retired the last 17 White Sox he faced.

Thats fun to watch; thats good baseball, Guillen said. Unfortunately, we finished like that.

Chicago rallied in the ninth, as Juan Pierre turned a HBP into a double with a stolen baseagain employing his swim technique. But after a walk to Vizquel, both Alex Rios and Paul Konerko failed to push Pierre home.

In the bottom of the ninth, Seattles streak of 25 scoreless innings in the seriesyes, theyd scored their only run in the first inning of the openerwas extended in a most unorthodox manner. An infield hit by Figgins (sacrificed to second by third-place hitter Gutierrez) and an intentional walk to Jose Lopez put two runners on with one out. Chisox reliever Sergio Santos coaxed a broken bat from Milton Bradley that blooped dangerously to right, but former Gold Glover Andruw Jones made an outstanding diving catch and instantaneous whirl to first to double off Lopez.

Indicative of the fact that Seattles baserunning is nearly as bad as its hitting, Lopezs run was meaningless. In Little League, you might go without postgame treats for such a gaffe.

Both teams went out meekly in the 10th, White Sox reliever Erick Threets striking out the side in the bottom half. Threets was in position for his first major-league victory prior to Seattles comeback on Jenks.

With one out in the 11th, Gordon Beckham jumped on a Brandon League pitch and left it just five feet short of a tiebreaking homer. But Bacon settled for a double, advancing to third on Pierres fly to right and setting up Vizquels apparent game-winner.

We had some breaks today and thought wed pull it together and win it, so obviously, you want to win these games, Floyd said. But there a lot of season left.

Theres no lost faith in here, said Santos, who pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless baseball. You put this behind you. We have all the faith in the world in Bobby. Thats just the way pitching is.

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

David Robertson: Ownership has always been Derek Jeter's dream

David Robertson: Ownership has always been Derek Jeter's dream

Derek Jeter reportedly is about to fulfill his post-retirement dreams as part of the Miami Marlins ownership group. Jeter's former teammate couldn't be happier for him.

White Sox closer David Robertson said that the future first-ballot Hall of Famer has long shared the hope he'd one day become an owner. Jeter has accomplished that goal as he's reportedly part of a group that includes former Florida governor Jeb Bush that on Tuesday placed the highest bid and agreed to purchase the Marlins for $1.3 billion.

"I know that’s always been a dream of his,” Robertson said. “People would ask him all the time, ‘What are you going to do when you’re done playing baseball?’ He said, ‘I want to own a team.’ So now it’s going to be everything from the office. I’m excited to see it happen.”

A 14-time All-Star, Jeter reportedly earned $265 million during a 20-year playing career, according to baseball-reference.com. After retiring in 2014, Jeter also started The Players Tribune, a successful website dedicated to athletes’ first-person stories. While Bush, who had an unsuccessful run to be the Republican Presidential candidate in 2016, is expected to be the controlling party of the group, Jeter is reportedly expected to have an active role.

“He’s been around a long time and I don’t think there’s any facet of the game he doesn’t know,” Robertson said. “I think him being an owner fits for sure.

“He’s a pretty smart individual. I’m just excited for him.”

Jeter and his partners reportedly beat out a bid by a group that included Hall of Famer Tom Glavine.

Three more hits for Leury Garcia as White Sox pound Royals

Three more hits for Leury Garcia as White Sox pound Royals

When a role player finally gets an opportunity in Rick Renteria's rotation, it's usually for two or three games. The idea is to give said player an opportunity to find a rhythm before they might head back to the bench for a few days.

So far this season, Leury Garcia has found this method favorable.

The centerfielder/utility man posted his second consecutive three-hit night game and drove in two runs on Tuesday night as the White Sox pounded the Kansas City Royals 10-5 in front of 14,591 at Guaranteed Rate Field. Garcia said he appreciates knowing he's likely to appear in two straight games if he's penciled in for a first. Todd Frazier also drove in three runs for the White Sox, who scored double-digit runs in consecutive games for the first time since May 26-27, 2012 to improve to 10-9.

"That's something that makes you get into rhythm," Garcia said. "It's not the same when you get to play just once a week or twice a week. When you're playing every day you have your routine and your swing and your approach."

Though a familiar face, Garcia — who was acquired in the Aug. 9, 2013 deal that sent Alex Rios and $1 million to the Texas Rangers — is on pace to play more this April than he ever has before. With four more plate appearances on Tuesday, Garcia has 46 this month, just four shy of the 50 he accrued last September. September 2013 when he netted 45 trips to the plate is the only other time in Garcia's career where he's received at least 40 plate appearances in a month.

But Garcia has found ample time this month with Peter Bourjos traded, Charlie Tilson injured and Jacob May struggling. Much like Matt Davidson, Garcia has capitalized on his chances.

On Tuesday his two-out RBI single in the second inning off Danny Duffy tied the score at 1. Three innings later, Garcia's two-out RBI double put the White Sox ahead for good. He also added an infield single in the sixth inning for good measure and finished 3-for-4.

A career .462 OPS hitter before this season, Garcia is slashing .318/.348/.500 in 46 plate appearances this season. 

"He was playing one day and then playing after five days (before)," teammate Avisail Garcia said. "Now he's playing every day and he's doing good. He's a good player and he can hit the ball and play good defense.

"It's huge (to play consecutively)."

A big factor for Leury Garcia's early success is his reduced strikeout rate. He's at 8.7 percent this season (four in 46 tries), down from 30.8 percent for his career. 

"He's just starting to manage his swing," manager Rick Renteria said. "He's learning how to approach at-bats, he's not just flailing at balls, I think it's a little bit more in control. He's still an aggressive swinger but I think he's trying to manage making contact. 

"He's capable of doing quite a few things and it's just coming together."

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Leury Garcia's second straight great game helped the White Sox break out against a lifeless Kansas City club. Tim Anderson followed Leury Garcia's double in the fourth with an RBI single off Duffy to make it 4-2.  

Frazier, who had two doubles and three RBIs, doubled in a run in the fifth and Yolmer Sanchez tripled him in. 

Duffy allowed six earned runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Omar Narvaez, who had two hits and a walk, singled in a pair off reliever Chris Young in the seventh as the White Sox pulled away. Frazier and Avisail Garcia, who finished 3-for-5, doubled in runs with two outs in the eighth. 

But afterward Leury Garcia received praise from every corner of the clubhouse. Renteria and Frazier singled out his performance and Sanchez sat in on his postgame media session. 

"I've been taking advantage of that rotation because you as a player, you want to play," Garcia said. "But at the same time you have to realize there's another 24 teammates that also deserve to play to. You have to be prepared to take advantage of that opportunity. 

"For me I've been great because I've been able to perform and I feel good."