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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

A win is a win

June 18, at Montreal

Magglio Watch
Days left on the DL:
Number of special newspaper articles covering it:

"Some reports claim Magglio may be back in time for Monday's series against Cleveland. We'll see."

Short Take: Buehrle struggles, but offense bails him out in 11-7 win

Coming off a horrible series against the Florida Marlins, the Sox were hoping to take the medicine that would cure any losing streak blues… A series against the Montreal Expos. However, thanks to another less than average pitching performance by Mark Buehrle, the Sox were in danger of dropping their third game in a row before the mix of solid bullpen work and late-game, clutch offense turned the tide, as the Sox defeated Montreal 11-7.

Even before the game, Sox fans had their reasons to be worried. After managing a grand total of 1 run in the last 20 innings of baseball, Ozzie decided it was time to shuffle his lineup for the “great” Claudio Vargas. What he posted originally looked like something of a sick joke. Timo Perez leading off? No Willie Harris, Frank Thomas, Miguel Olivo, or Sandy Alomar, Jr.? Coupled with still playing in the Senior Circuit, the Sox were looking at the very real possibility of another offensive draught.

Instead, the game unfolded the exact opposite way, as Mark Buehrle coughed up an early lead, but the Sox relentlessly pounded away at Montreal’s staff. The Sox notched three runs in the first off Vargas, the first two coming thanks to a homer by Carlos Lee following Juan Uribe’s 1-out single. After a double and stolen base, Jose Valentin managed to score on a fielder’s choice by Aaron Rowand. Considering how dominant Buehrle had been this season and how pathetic the Expos had bee, you had to have guessed that the Sox just need to set the cruise control for the next 8˝ innings to snap their 2-game skid.

But, instead, the Mark Buehrle who showed up against Philadelphia in Chicago a week and half ago made an encore north of the border, allowing 5 runs in the bottom of the frame, eliciting the most excitement out of an Expos’ crowd since 1994. Eight men batted in the first against Buehrle and the whole travesty was capped by doubles by Carl Everett and Nick Johnson.

Luckily, the Expos soon remembered they are, well… The Expos, and T.J. Tucker, who relieved Vargas at the start of the second could not hold the lead. With Timo on third and Uribe on first, Carlos Lee doubled to deep left field, scoring the pair and knotting the score at 5. The Sox took back the lead in the 4th, when Carlos scored on a triple by Jose Valentin, but again Mark Buehrle was unable to put away the raging Montreal offense, as Brad Wilkerson hit a two-run homer to put the Expos up 7-6. Buehrle would pitch two more scoreless innings before getting the chain and boasted an unimpressive line for the second start in three. In 6 innings, he allowed 10 hits, a walk, and 7 runs, all earned, while striking out 4. His personal 6-game winning streak would have been in jeopardy, had Jamie Burke not singled home Joe Crede in the fifth to again knot the score, this time at 7, when Buehrle departed. While he left with no decision possible, the Sox did provide Mark with plenty of runs to get a win over the Majors’ worst offense.

But personal wins and losses really aren’t as important when the team is sinking, are they? Thanks to a 4-run 8th inning the Sox wouldn’t have to ponder such profound baseball philosophy. The top of the lineup again set the table for the big bats and they responded. Juan Uribe started the rally with a deep fly ball to left field that Carl Everett lost in the lights or something, but after breaking in, the ball flew over Jurassic Carl’s head for a two-base error. Carlos Lee singled him home and then he came around to score on a second triple by Jose Valentin. Valentin highlighted the inning when Paul Konerko rolled a slow grounder to third. Without time to check the runner Tony Batista made a good throw to first to get Konerko, but Valentin timed his break for home perfectly as Batista released the throw to first, and while Nick Johnson made the play as close as possible with a strike to home, it was too late as Valentin had already slid across to score the 10th run of the game for the Sox. A two-out double by Joe Crede and then RBI single by Jamie Burke were the exclamation point on the win.

Lost in all these runs was the effort of Neal Cotts. He mopped up for Buehrle after the southpaw struggled. He pitched an inning and a third of scoreless ball, allowing only a hit as he nailed down his first win of the season. Mike Jackson came in to relieve Cotts in the 8th after he allowed that hit, and promptly allowed another. Guillen, apparently not anxious to watch the bullpen throw away another win, called on Damaso Marte to clean up the last four ours, which he did without any real trouble, minus a two-out walk to Everett in the ninth, for his third save of the year.

In the end, a win is a win, right, Sox fans? The offense looked good after a terrible series, so maybe it just was dominating pitching from Florida rather than an internal slide, but Mark Buehrle again didn’t even have his D-game, allowing 7 runs to a team that had barely averaged three runs a game coming into tonight’s action. Just keep saying it, “a win is a win.”

Thanks to a 4-1 loss at Milwaukee, the Twins drop a game to the Sox in the standings, so again the Pale Hose are within ˝ a game of first place. Arnie Munoz will be the next contestant on “Who Wants to be the Sox’s Fifth Starter?” when he gets the nod against Tony Armas, Jr. and Montreal tomorrow night. The show starts at 6:05 Central Time and will be televised on WGN.

Ozzieball Update:
Ozzie continue's to have Midas's touch, as a lineup missing some key offensive components comes up with 11 runs. Still, it could have just been the opponent, but who's complaining?

submitted by doublem23.

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