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.

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)

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

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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.

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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.”