White Sox cruise past Yankees after big first

245440.jpg

White Sox cruise past Yankees after big first

Friday, Aug. 27, 2010
Updated 12:03 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Thursday night, the White Sox battered the worst of the AL East with a doleful drubbing of the Baltimore Orioles, 8-0. On Friday, Chicago likewise beat down the best of the East, the New York Yankees, 9-4.

As it happened in the whitewash of Baltimore, so it went vs. the Yankeesand it must have been difficult for the Pale Hose to tell a difference between the two.

The White Sox answered a lone tally by the Yankees in the first with four in the bottom half, setting the stage for a rout, and easing Freddy Garcia to his 11th win.

We jumped out early, and that helps Freddy, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. We blew a couple of games for him, but when he gets a three- or four-run lead, he can relax a little. He can throw that breaking pitch at 3-2.

Garcia, quite unlike K-collector Edwin Jackson before him, nonetheless hurled a superb game against the Bronx Bombers. The veteran spun seven innings of five-hit, two-run ball, striking out three while walking just one.

Freddy was great, catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. He made pitches when he had to. He was on.

Garcia settled in and did exactly what he should do, and the guys made plays behind him, first baseman Paul Konerko added.

On the flip side, Yankees starter A.J. Burnett was determined to outpace the Chicago starterby way of the plate hopping around and relentless, deliberate pauses between pitches. Burnett was devoured by the chippy Chisox offense to the tune of nine runs on eight hits in just 3 13 innings. The flatulent effort left Burnett winless in both June and August 2010.

Chicago didnt just put a crooked number up in the first but added another four-spot in the fourth. The biggest blow of the game was a two-run double by Pierzynski to close scoring in the first. In the fourth, the White Sox tallied mainly via a series of keystone cop tosses and fumbles by New Yorks cheesecloth defense.

Im very pleased at how the guys went out and played, Guillen said. Weve had some recent games that have broken our hearts, but the guys keep coming back out and playing hard.

As usual, Pierzynski was self-deprecating when evaluating his performance on the night.

I was so bad for so long, said the backstop. I didnt think I could continue to be that bad.

Only Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham failed to record a hit in the game, while Juan Pierre and Omar Vizquel tapped out two apiecewith Vizquel adding some air drums in support of Bon Jovi at the seventh-inning stretch to boot. Vizquel's night also included a pair of RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base.

A typical drawback to White Sox games these days once again reared its head, as reliever Erick Threets left the game in the ninth after pitching a scoreless eighth in support of Garcia. Threets felt his left throwing elbow lock up on a pitch to Mark Teixeira, and he was removed as a precaution. Initial X-rays were negative, and the lefty is scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday.

Nick Swisher trotted off a garbage-time, two-run shot in the ninth off of reliever Scott Linebrink to end the scoring.

With their last two triumphs, the White Sox appear poised to sprint through their next 30-odd games.

Were going to try to win all 30, Pierzynski said.

Were just going to play each game as hard as we can, go about it the right way, Konerko added.

And its the sparkplug who started off the convincing rally in the bottom of the first that gets the last word in on this game.

Weve still got a lot of work to do in this last month and hopefully keep it going as a team, Pierre said. But it looks like were getting back to our winning ways.

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

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Quintana and Miguel Gonzalez looked like a pair of pitchers who began their offseasons earlier to prep for the World Baseball Classic.

Both White Sox starting pitchers looked sharp as they made their spring debuts in a 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch on Sunday afternoon. Team USA relievers David Robertson and Nate Jones also pitched a scoreless inning each in the win. Prospect Zack Burdi also pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Gonzalez, who is on the Team Mexico roster, only allowed a single on a dropped pop up on the infield in two scoreless innings.

“I’m a little ahead of the game right now,” Gonzalez said. “I started a little earlier this year in the offseason to work out, thinking I wanted to go to the WBC and get ready for that. But I think the most important thing right now is getting ready for April 1 with the White Sox. That’s my goal, and you don’t get these opportunities every year. To represent Mexico, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”

Quintana, who will start for Colombia in their March 10 opener against the United States, allowed a run and a hit in two innings. He struck out one and hit a batter.

“I feel good,” Quintana said. “I think for the first day I feel comfortable. I hit the glove. I feel good. A couple of pitches spinning were good and I feel really good.”

[RELATED: Jim Thome on being a finalist for National Baseball Hall of Fame]

Robertson is throwing much earlier than normal in anticipation of his March 6 departure for Miami, where Team USA begins its tournament. The club’s closer normally wouldn’t appear in a game until the calendar turns to March. Robertson said he usually only needs 5-6 spring outings to get in shape for the regular season. Though he felt a little rusty, the right-hander was pleased with several changeups and fastballs he threw.

“I wouldn’t say it was smooth but I got through it,” Robertson said. “I had a few bad pitches that were just not competitive. … All in all I got through what seemed like a tough inning for a first outing.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to go down there and put the ‘USA’ across my chest and have a chance to win something for our country. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to play with a group of guys I’ve been playing against my whole life.”

Eddie Alvarez had a three-run double for the White Sox while Tyler Saladino collected two hits in three trips. Catcher Roberto Pena went 2-for-2 with an RBI. 

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Normally upbeat and positive, Jim Thome can’t help but beam with pride when asked about his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Thome, who blasted 612 career home runs, including 134 with the White Sox, is eligible for induction for the first time in 2018. Even though he’s expected by many to one day be voted into Cooperstown, perhaps even in his first year, Thome said he’s merely honored to be on the ballot. Thome is joined on the ballot by Chipper Jones and former teammate Omar Vizquel, among others. Voting begins in December and the results will be announced next January.

“To even be on the ballot and thought of, it would be the greatest honor I think you could get,” Thome said. “Or if you get an opportunity to go into the greatest fraternity baseball has or created, it would be indescribable. How do you ever think as a kid or a high school player or even going through the minor leagues, that you’d play at the big leagues that long? And then to get an opportunity at the end of your career to be put on the ballot is so great.

“That would be the coolest moment ever.”

Thome – who is in White Sox camp as a special assistant to the general manager – provided plenty of big moments in a career that spanned 22 seasons. He hit 30 home runs in 12 of 13 seasons between 1996-2008, leading the league with 47 in 2003. The slugger was a five-time All-Star and produced 72.9 b-Wins Above Replacement.

[RELATED: Brett Lawrie trying to clear final hurdles]

Thome isn’t as superstitious about his candidacy as others previously have been. He won’t be the guy to bring up the topic, but the Peoria, Ill.-native doesn’t shy away from discussing it, either.

“It’s not something you talk a lot about,” Thome said. “We’re not going to bring it up. But when people do bring it up, there’s a sense of pride, a sense of ‘Wow, baseball has thought that highly to put you on the ballot.’ And the fact that there’s just this wonderful fraternity of incredible players that you could be a part of, if you’re chosen.”