White Sox keep momentum, win ninth straight

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White Sox keep momentum, win ninth straight

Friday, July 16, 2010
Updated: 12:17 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

MINNEAPOLIS The Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 8-7 on Thursday in what started out as a marathon but ended up an 8-7 barnburner.

The White Sox have now won nine straight and 15 of 16, 22 of 26, and 26 of 31 games in what has grown from the hottest streak in the majors to one of the most unconscious stretches of winning in team history. Chicago is now a game up on the idle Detroit Tigers for first place in the AL Central and 4.5 ahead of third-place Minnesota.

Chicago jumped out to four runs in the first two innings, paced by exquisite hit-and-run managing by Ozzie Guillen and two Alex Rios sacrifice flies.

But in the bottom of the second, Chisox starter John Danks got into major trouble, surrendering six hits leading to six runs and giving away a lead in what looked to be a runaway game. But to the surprise of no one on the visitors bench, the White Sox indeed chipped their way back, with a run in the fourth and three in the fifth to take the lead for good.

Thats not the way I wanted to go about it, Danks said. But I looked at is as one bad inning. And when the team is playing the way it is right now, no lead on us is safe.

In a game with its fair share of big hits, it was a baserunning decision by Gordon Beckham that ended up providing the deciding run. With one out in the fifth, Juan Pierre struck a double-play ball to second baseman Orlando Hudson, but his counterpart froze on the basepath to force Hudson to get the sure out at first. Beckham beat first baseman Michael Cuddyers throw to second, which allowed A.J. Pierzynski to score what would end up as the deciding run.

Look at the way the game went, Beckham said. That play is what ended up providing the game-winner. When youre playing winning baseball, youre doing the little things and making the extra effort.

Thats the way Ozzie has been steering us all season, said Matt Thornton, who came on with two outs in the seventh with Hudson on third to strike out Jason Kubel. Hit-and-runs, bullpen management, the little thingseven when hes missing, its not by much.

Pierzynski admitted the White Sox played a typical Twins gamecatch the ball, throw strikes, and was enlivened by the raucous atmosphere of the opener pitting bitter rivals against one another.

That was fun, he said. It was a good game. Both teams had big hits and were playing good baseball.

Bobby Jenks came on in the eighth for a rare save of more than three outs. With the bases full, the Chisox closer-on in relief of Sergio Santos-struck out Hudson. Not content to add a couple of grey hairs to the goatee with that cliffhanging effort, Jenks surrendered a leadoff double to Joe Mauer in the ninth and the catcher scored after Delmon Young singled with two outs.

Jim Thome stepped to the plate as the potential winning run, and Bad Bobby Kd the former Sox slugger for the win. It was the 11th save of more than three outs in 11 tries for Jenks in his career, and his first of the season.

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

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland not satisfied despite strong outing in White Sox loss

Derek Holland turned in one of his best starts of the season on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the White Sox had nothing to show for it after a 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon.

In six innings, Holland allowed four hits, one earned run, and two walks while recording six strikeouts. He was charged with his only run in the seventh, when he allowed a single to Yonder Alonso, who came around to score after Holland had been pulled from the game.

Despite his confidence in the bullpen, which has been one of the White Sox biggest strengths this season, Holland would like to see himself go deeper into the games.

“I should be getting into the 7th and not having 110 pitches,” Holland said. “The bullpen's done a great job of picking us up in the seventh, eighth and ninth. The starters, and really pointing more to myself, we need to...I need to go out there and go longer."

Entering Sunday, three of Holland’s last four starts had been the worst outings of the season – allowing 22 earned runs over those four games. Despite the team’s 5-3 loss, Holland felt his outing was a step in the right direction.

“I felt good about everything out there,” Holland said. “(Omar Narvaez) and I were right on the same page. There were just a couple of things that got away from us. Just one of those things. Defense made the plays for us when they needed to, unfortunately we just didn't come out on top."

Manager Rick Renteria also had high praise for the 30-year-old southpaw, who bounced back from one of his shortest outings of the season.

“I thought Holland, hopefully what's not lost is Holland's outing today was really, really good,” Renteria said. “He kept us in the ballgame. They've got some kids that can swing the bat. They were putting things together. All we were trying to do at the end was minimize any damage they could produce. We weren't able to.”

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tough luck for Tommy Kahnle as White Sox blow lead, get swept by A’s

Tommy Kahnle has been one of the White Sox brightest bright spots, but fell victim to some tough luck that could ding on his under-the-radar All-Star bid.

Kahnle allowed the tying and go-ahead runs in the White Sox 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics Sunday in front of 28,089 at Guaranteed Rate Field, marking only the sixth time in 31 games the 27-year-old right-hander has allowed a run in 2017.

In the eighth inning, Kahnle allowed a broken bat single to Franklin Barreto, then Ryon Healy reached on a Todd Frazier error. Khris Davis tied the game with a single to left, knocking Kahnle out of the game, and Oakland took the lead when Yonder Alonso blooped a single off David Robertson that plopped into left field out of the reach of Melky Cabrera. Consider the hit probabilities, according to Statcast, of those three hits and the error:

Barreto: 78 percent
Healy: 5 percent
Davis: 62 percent
Alonso: 2 percent

That Kahnle coughed up the lead was surprising given his stealthy success leading a strong back end of the White Sox bullpen this year. The White Sox, prior to Sunday's defeat, were 28-0 when leading after seven innings. 

"Our bullpen's doing a great (job), it really is," manager Rick Renteria said. "I think you can't take away from what they've been doing for us all year long. We've been going to them a lot."

On that improbable Alonso bloop single, Cabrera was shifted more toward center field. 

"He was actually playing a little more to the pull side than he was to the line," Renteria said. "I don't think he was going to be able to get to it, regardless of the effort he might have given us. These guys are all a little fatigued, they're a little tired right now. They're giving you what they've got right now."

Entering Sunday’s game, Kahnle’s 1.2 WAR was sixth-best American League relievers, behind Boston’s Craig Kimbrel (2.2), Houston’s Chris Devenski (1.6), Cleveland’s Andrew Miller (1.6), Los Angeles’ Blake Parker (1.4) and Toronto’s Roberto Osuna (1.3). His 44.8 strikeout percentage is among the five best in baseball along with Kimbrel, New York’s Dellin Betances, Los Angeles’ Kenley Jansen and Milwaukee’s Corey Knebel.

Kahnle has been undoubtedly spectacular this year even with Sunday’s hiccup, though with Garcia seeming likely to be on the American League All-Star roster, Terry Francona wouldn’t have to take him to fill the game’s requirement. That this year’s All-Star Game doesn’t count — it’s the first since 2002 that won’t dictate home-field advantage in the World Series — could alter Francona’s roster construction to reward more starters and closers, and the Cleveland Indians manager would certainly be justified if he wanted to take his own setup guy in Miller.

The White Sox handed Kahnle the lead on Adam Engel’s first career home run (a solo shot in the third) and Jose Abreu’s dash home on a passed ball in the fourth. Starter Derek Holland was solid, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts over six innings. Melky Cabrera added a solo home run in the ninth inning, his eighth of the season.

Adam Rosales and Matt Joyce homered off Robertson and Chris Beck, respectively, in the ninth inning to give the A’s a comfortable ending to their three-game sweep of the White Sox. Beck was hit by a comebacker after allowing that home run and left the game with a bruised left hamstring, and is considered day-to-day.