Thursday, July 29, 2010
Updated: 11:23 PM
By Brett Ballantini
From day one, the Chicago White Sox have been a team-first outfit, preaching the importance of player one through player 25 on the roster. But the club is starting to spread the wealth so thin it may stitch a hammer and sickle on its jersey sleeves.
In an eventual 9-5 win over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday-Chicagos 11th straight home win and ninth in 10 tries vs. the Ms-it was the pesky bottom of the order that pulled the White Sox back into the game. Alexei Ramirez, Ramon Castro and Gordon Beckham loaded the bases to start the third inning and all eventually scored to give the Chisox a lead they would not relinquish. Castro and Beckham combined to go 5-for-7 with five runs scored.
Now we play a different ballgame, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said, contrasting his current club from those of the recent past. Were pushing guys to run the bases and be aggressive.
Castro, in particular had a remarkable game, with a double in the third and solo blasts in the fourth and sixth. While to this point hes been Freddy Garcias designated catcher, Castro will be seeing increased playing time, as at age 34 hes having a career year just as incumbent backstop A.J. Pierzynski is slumping.
Castro is making it harder for me, Guillen said. I may give A.J. another day off. Castro takes care of himself. Hes always had good potential. We should take advantage of what hes doing right now.
As soon as I hit the homers, I knew they were gone, Castro said, recounting with exacting detail his prior two-homer game (off Jason Marquis on April 14, 2002). Hopefully, Ill hit two homers again.
Garcia got down early, Ichiro Suzuki menacing him for doubles and runs in the first and third to put Seattle up, 2-0. But the veteran hung in for six innings, scattering seven hits and striking out three en route to his 10th win of the season.
I got off to a hard start, but I put in my six innings, Garcia said with typical economy. A lot of people are surprised I have 10 wins, but I said from the start I would try to win 15 games, at least. I know how to pitch and get guys out.
There was little surprise or doubt in the Chicago dugout that the team would rally for another come-from-behind victory, its 27th of the season.
Were believing that we can win every game, no matter who were playing, designated hitter Paul Konerko said. We just had a tough road trip, and its good to see us starting right back up winning and not worrying that the party is over.
Were always battling back, said Beckham, who doubled to left and singled to right for his two hits on the night, which he noted as a sure sign hes swinging the bat well. Guys who are supposed to hit are doing it, and the guys who are supposed to get on base are doing it.
If there was one bummer in the win, it was the snapping of J.J. Putzs team-record scoreless appearance streak of 27 in the seventh. Putz surrendered two runs, the first tallies hes allowed since May 7.
I dont know what wed do without him, Guillen said of Putz, acknowledging he could say the same of virtually his entire bullpen.
As if to extend the party, Konerko and Carlos Quentin smashed towering blasts in the seventh to get those runs right back and provide the final markers in the game.
No matter how we score some of our runs, home runs will always come in this park, Guillen said.
I was just trying to scrape by tonight, Konerko said. But I didnt panic.
It seems that these days, the 1-25 deep White Sox are doing a lot more sharing than panicking.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.