White Sox wince through big loss to Tigers

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White Sox wince through big loss to Tigers

Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010
Updated 11:21 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com
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.

Preview: Jose Quintana, White Sox continue series with Mariners tonight on CSN

Preview: Jose Quintana, White Sox continue series with Mariners tonight on CSN

The White Sox continue their series against the Seattle Mariners, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 5:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Tonight’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (10-9, 2.84 ERA) vs. Ariel Miranda (1-0, 5.49 ERA)

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

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— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

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Chris Sale strikes out 14 but White Sox fall to Mariners

Chris Sale strikes out 14 but White Sox fall to Mariners

Felix Hernandez has proven for years that he doesn’t need much help.

But the White Sox provided him with three free outs on the bases anyway on Friday night.

Those mistakes allowed Hernandez to hold the White Sox in check as they wasted a 14-strikeout performance from Chris Sale in a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners in front of 25,651 at U.S. Cellular Field. Sale retired 16 in a row to end it, but it wasn’t enough as the White Sox dropped back to five games below .500.

“We didn’t run the bases very well tonight,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “That ends up costing you. You’re getting something going against them, and it just takes the wind out of your sails. Both guys pitched great.

“They just executed better than we did when they got the chance. Both guys were going strong. The way we ran the bases, we didn’t deserve to win that game.”

Sale (15-7) deserved much better than to lose for the fifth time in his last six decisions.

[MORE: White Sox trade catcher Dioner Navarro to Blue Jays]

Though he allowed a run in the second, third and fourth innings, Sale got on a roll late.

After Adam Lind’s two-out RBI double in the fourth, Sale found an extra gear and retired the last 16 Mariners to hit, including 10 strikeouts. He struck out the side in the sixth and seventh innings and afforded his teammates a chance to rally.

“Thank God we did it early because as everybody saw, when he gets on a roll it’s like lights out,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “He’s obviously one of the best pitchers in the league for a reason. We had no chance, really, after the fourth and fifth inning. He got into a groove and got all his pitches working.”

Two of Seattle’s three runs off Sale came on opposite-field drives as Lind doubled to left in the fourth and Franklin Gutierrez homered to right in the second inning. Sale walked none and only allowed five hits and three runs in nine innings. He threw strikes on 88 of 120 pitches.

It was the 13th complete game of Sale’s career and his fifth this season.

“I wanted to find a groove and I felt like after the fourth inning I got into a pretty good groove, that cruising speed I was talking about,” Sale said. “I just tried to lengthen it as much as I could, just fill up as many innings as I could. Just give us a chance to win, keep us in the game.”

While Sale kept his team in the game, they repeatedly took themselves out of it.

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The White Sox had plenty of chances against Hernandez, none better than the bottom of the eighth inning. Trailing by two runs, Avisail Garcia and Tyler Saladino singled on both sides of a J.B. Shuck fielder’s choice. Adam Eaton’s one-out walk knocked Hernandez out of the game after 104 pitches.

But closer Edwin Diaz got Tim Anderson to hit into a fielder’s choice as third baseman Shawn O’Malley made a perfect throw home on the slow roller for a force out. Jose Abreu then fouled out to leave the bases loaded. Diaz retired the side in order in the ninth for his 11th save.

Todd Frazier homered in the seventh inning of Hernandez for the team’s only run, but they should have had more. The White Sox had the leadoff man reach base in five of eight innings started by Hernandez, who allowed a run and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings. Hernandez erased two of those five as he picked off Frazier and Shuck in the second and third innings. He also got out of a first-and-third jam in the fifth inning when Shuck lined into a double play and Omar Narvaez was caught leaning.

“That’s the frustrating part,” Ventura said. “You know you’re not really going to have too many opportunities (against Hernandez). You might be able to hit and run or all of a sudden you’re first and third. But if you just take it out of your own hands, that’s where you scratch your head.”

White Sox hope second-rounder Alec Hansen's 'fun ride' continues at Kannapolis

White Sox hope second-rounder Alec Hansen's 'fun ride' continues at Kannapolis

The way he dominated the Pioneer League had to boost to Alec Hansen’s confidence. It also prompted his promotion.

When the White Sox sent their second-round pick to Great Falls last month it was in the hope he could rebound from a rough junior season at Oklahoma that caused his draft stock to fall. Once thought to be the potential first overall pick of the 2016 draft, Hansen was selected 49th after he posted a 5.40 ERA and walked 39 batters in 51.2 innings. But Hansen — who made his first start at Single-A Kannapolis on Friday — looked every bit the first-rounder at Great Falls with a 1.23 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.

“We wanted to put him in a position where there was a little less pressure to start off the season,” White Sox player development director Nick Capra said. “There's always pressure, but it's a little less magnified in the Pioneer League. We wanted to get him on the right road. We did a couple things with him mechanically and he took off with it.”

“We kind of held him hostage in Great Falls a little bit too long. He’s been really good. He’s double-digit strikeouts every night. He’s not walking people.”

Hansen is expected to make two starts at Kannapolis before the team’s season ends. He earned a no decision after he allowed three earned runs and five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in five innings against the Columbia Fireflies on Friday.

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Capra described the mechanical changes the White Sox made with Hansen as minor. Essentially, they want Hansen to take advantage of his 6-foot-8 frame and stay taller and release the ball more quickly. They believe it will help him better command his pitches.

Through 11 minor-league starts, Hansen has walked 18 batters in 49 innings (he also pitched seven innings in Arizona). That’s compared with the 96 batters he walked in 145 innings in college.

“Our player development guys deserve so much credit for the way they've handled it,” amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. “There was a little bit of concern about the confidence part of it, just him taking the ball every fifth day and knowing that we believe in him. Our pitching guys and PD guys deserve a huge amount of credit for just the time they put into it. They really, really know how to make these guys excel and succeed. Been a pretty fun ride to watch and I hope it continues.”