Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010
Updated 11:21 PM
By Brett Ballantini
DETROIT A long winning streak, especially one on the road, is bound to be broken.
So the 9-1 loss by the Chicago White Sox to Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander, snapping a seven-game winning streak, came as no surprise.
But the fact remains that seven wins in eight games has found the White Sox gaining no ground on the first-place Minnesota Twins, as Minnesota crushed the Kansas City Royals, 10-2, to extend their first-place cushion to 4 games.
I will take 7-1 again and see what happens, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. Thats part of the game. We all know that Minnesota is playing well now. Theyve got a good ballclub, but I will take another 7-1 stretch and take a chance with that.
Like I said yesterday, we won seven games in a row and the only game we picked up was the day we didnt play and Minnesota lost, catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. What can you do? You go out and play as hard as we can. Nobody is giving up. Nobody is panicking.
Just three batters into the game, the Tigers had scored all they needed to win, after Johnny Damon clocked a first-pitch changeup from Freddy Garcia into the right-field seats, scoring Will Rhymes.
Worse for the White Sox, Garcia left his second straight start with a stiff back, this time completing just two innings and throwing 33 pitches.
He was just missing a little, Pierzynski said of Garcia. He missed with the pitch to Damon for the home run. He battled through and got the outs. The second inning was better. Typical Freddy: Get through the first inning, and hes usually better as the game goes on. Tonight it was not meant to be.
Lucas Harrell relieved Garcia and was buried by Detroit in the third, with four tallies paced by singles from Don Kelly and Miguel Cabrera and a double by Jhonny Peralta - the runs were unearned, as the inning kicked off with an error by first baseman Mark Kotsay.
I was up in the zone a little bit early, but I settled down as the game went along, Harrell said. If youre going to be up in the zone against a team that can hit, theyre going to hit you around.
Lucas did a good job, Pierzynski said. He gave up four unearned runs. He gave us innings, which we needed. He threw the ball well. We should have been out of the one inning, with no runs, no damage. He probably could have finished the game for us if that happens.
Chicago scored its lone run off an Omar Vizquel RBI single in the third. Brandon Inge added insult to injury with a three-run round-tripper in the eighth.
Verlander entered the 2010 season with a mediocre 2-9 record in his career vs. the White Sox, with a 5.90 ERA and just 1.77 KBB. With an outstanding seven innings of one-run, five-hit pitching, surrendering just one walk against seven strikeouts, Verlanders transformation vs. Chicago is complete. Including tonight, in 2010 the Detroit ace is now 4-0 in four starts vs. Chicago, with a 1.38 ERA and 3.13 KBB.
We handled him real well even though he gave up just one run, Guillen said. He threw 121 pitches in six inningsthat means we made him work. But down 6-1 with Verlander, thats a deep hole to try and get out of.
Youve got to battle, Pierzynski said. We did that against Verlander and we had chances. We scored that run and thought we got back in it, and then gave up the four-spot.
Despite the setback on Tuesday, the White Sox were well aware that they are still close to first placeeven while acknowledging that at this point, their playoff dreams are in need of assistance.
Youre not going to win every game, Pierzynski said. We have to get it back going tomorrow. Everyone is busting their tail every day and we are trying to win every game. If it works out, it works out. Theres nothing you can do. When you are behind, you have to hope for help and win every game.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.