White Sox try to snap losing skid, face Rays

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White Sox try to snap losing skid, face Rays

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 10:45 a.m.

(AP) -- Tampa Bay has turned things around after a dismal start. Leading the way has been surprising Sam Fuld.

Fuld looks to extend his hot stretch when the Rays continue their four-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

In parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Fuld never made much of an impact with 33 hits in 131 at-bats (.252). Traded to Tampa Bay (7-9) in January as part of the deal for Matt Garza, Fuld is leading the Rays with a .396 average and showing impressive range in the outfield.

He had another big game Monday, going 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored as Tampa Bay defeated Chicago (7-9) 5-0 for its sixth win in seven games following a 1-8 start.

READ: Diving Rays drive White Sox downward

David Price pitched four-hit ball over eight innings and Felipe Lopez and Ben Zobrist each homered. Zobrist's home run capped a three-run first.

After scoring eight total runs during a season-opening six-game losing streak, the Rays have averaged 5.6 runs during their 6-1 surge. Fuld is 16 for 31 during that seven-game stretch.

Fuld's hot streak helped carry an offense that on Monday was without designated hitter Johnny Damon, who sat out with a bruised left ring finger. He hopes to play later this week. Center fielder B.J. Upton (rest) and first baseman Dan Johnson (sore left wrist) were also out of the lineup.

Price was too much for the slumping White Sox, who have dropped five straight while batting .199 and scoring 11 runs. They struck out 11 times Monday, including three by Alex Rios, whose average dropped to .203. Adam Dunn, batting 2 for 23 the last six games, was given the night off against the left-handed Price.

"We know we're going to hit," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I don't worry about that."

READ: Peavy's 'discomfort' sets return back

The losing streak is Chicago's longest since an eight-game skid Sept. 14-21.

James Shields (0-1, 3.98 ERA) will look to keep the Rays rolling as he seeks his first win since Aug. 29 against Boston. The right-hander is 0-5 with a 6.19 ERA over nine starts since, three this season.

Shields, though, is coming off a second strong start in 2011. He allowed two runs and nine hits in seven innings of a 4-3, 10-inning win over Minnesota on Thursday. The Rays didn't score while he was on the mound for the second time this season.

The offense bailed him out after he struggled at Chicago on April 8, yielding five runs and eight hits, including three homers, over six innings of a 9-7 victory.

Alexei Ramirez is 6 for 15 with two homers against Shields while Mark Teahen is hitting .385 with two home runs in 26 at-bats.

Sox Drawer: Look out for the Indians (and Orlando Cabrera)

John Danks (0-1, 3.15), who opposed Shields in that April 8 start, has been in line for victories his last two games, but the White Sox bullpen has blown a save each time.

On Wednesday against Oakland, Danks allowed one run and five hits while striking out seven over eight innings, but Chicago went on to lose 7-4 in 10 innings.

In Danks' previous start against Tampa Bay, the left-hander allowed four runs and six hits while walking four over six innings.

Danks is 4-1 at Tropicana Field, losing his last start there May 29 after allowing eight runs in four innings. He had a 2.25 ERA in his previous four visits.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Omar Narvaez helps father celebrate his birthday in style with first home run

Omar Narvaez helps father celebrate his birthday in style with first home run

Omar Narvaez’s teammates gave him a beer shower after he blasted the first home run of his career on Friday night.

But the rookie catcher said it wasn’t the best gift he gave or received in a 7-3 White Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins. Narvaez’s father, Omar, was in attendance at U.S. Cellular Field and celebrating his birthday when he son blasted a 377-foot drive to right field.

“It was great, especially because it was my dad’s birthday today,” Narvaez said. “It’s a very special gift for my dad. That’s what I was thinking as I was running the bases. It’s the best thing I could do this day.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Narvaez, who hails from Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela, said his family has been in town all week to see him play. His fourth-inning homer off Twins pitcher Pat Dean put the White Sox ahead 6-0. Narvaez -- who has seven minor-league homers, including two at Triple-A Charlotte this season -- homered in his 111th plate appearance in the big leagues.

“That was awesome,” pitcher Carlos Rodon said. “I’ve been waiting a while because I know he’s got that pop. Took him a little bit, but I was happy for him.”

Young White Sox players star in win over Twins

Young White Sox players star in win over Twins

The word electric was used multiple times to describe several young White Sox players on Friday night and it wasn’t hyperbole.

Carlos Rodon tied an American League record with seven consecutive strikeouts to start a 7-3 White Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field and Tim Anderson was an all-around force. Anderson turned several double plays and finished a double shy of the cycle and Rodon, who was coming off the best start of his career, struck out 10 to close out a stellar second half. Rookie catcher Omar Narvaez also blasted the first home run of his big league career in the victory.

“This was some electric stuff coming out,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I would say the first seven hitters were better than (Sunday’s start). He just, it looked like his confidence and end of the year, letting it out. It was definitely the best stuff-wise of having it all -- fastball, slider, mix in a change. I think that’s just a big confidence boost for him of getting to that point where he can do that.”

Where Rodon is now compared with 2 1/ 2 months ago is vastly different. Frustrated by a 2-7 start and a sprained wrist sustained when he fell in the dugout, Rodon was about as low as he’s been in his two seasons in the majors. But the North Carolina State-product vowed to treat the second half like an entirely different season when he returned from his injury and he has done just that.

Featuring a fastball that topped 99-mph, according to brooksbaseball.net, and with his wipeout slider in tow, Rodon quickly looked in control against the Twins. He struck out the side in each of the first two innings. Only two of his first seven strikeouts came via called third strikes.

Rodon’s third-inning whiff of John Ryan Murphy moved him into a tie for the team and AL record with ex-White Sox hurler Joe Cowley, who struck out the first seven he faced in a May 28, 1986 loss at the Texas Rangers. Coupled with the three strikeouts to end Sunday’s start in Cleveland (part of 11 overall), Rodon’s 10 straight strikeouts between the two games matched the most by a major league pitcher since Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne did it in 2003.

“He was throwing a lot of strikes,” Narvaez said. “The slider was perfect today. He was at his best today.”

Rodon was only slowed down by a 31-pitch sixth inning as he allowed three runs (two earned). He yielded three hits, walked three and struck out 10 to improve to 7-3 with a 3.45 ERA since the All-Star break. The left-hander struck out 77 batters in 73 innings from July 31st through the end of the season.

“It’s easy to play behind him because it makes my job a lot easier when he’s striking out people,” Anderson said.

Rodon feels the same about the way Anderson has played since he arrived in the majors in June. The rookie shortstop continues to excel even though he has never played more in a season than he in 2016.  

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Anderson headed into the eighth inning with a chance to complete the cycle. Needing only a double after he tripled and homered in his first two at-bats, Anderson grounded out and finished 3-for-5.

He turned on his speed when he tripled off the glove of Byron Buxton in the first inning and scored on Melky Cabrera’s RBI double. Anderson flashed his power when he blasted his ninth home run in the third, a two-run shot that traveled 410 feet. And used his glove and arm to turn several nice plays in the field.

“He’s electric,” Rodon said. “Just watching him develop over this few months here, it’s been incredible. Making those plays in the hole and just swinging the bat great. That’s a guy our team can feed off of when he’s in the lineup.”