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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Eight isn't enough!

June 24 v. Houston

How was the trophy defended today?
Stellar bullpen work and clutch hitting get the job done.

Short Take:Sox overcome shaky start by Garland, come back to win 9th straight in extra-inning thriller.

Jon Garland didn't have his best stuff today; his counterpart on the mound for the Astros, Taylor Buchholz, did. In the end, it was a tale of two bullpens as the Sox rallied back from a 5-1 defecit in dramatic fashion to take a 6-5 victory in 10 innings this afternoon at US Cellular Field.

The Sox were the first to strike, scoring a run in the first inning. Scott Podsednik led off with a single and stole second base. He would score on a deep sacrifice fly by Jim Thome to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead. Podsednik's single was one of only two hits allowed by Buchholz over the first 6 innings of the game, as Buchholz dominated the Sox lineup for most of the afternoon. Garland, on the other hand, struggled. A leadoff walk to Morgan Ensberg in the second inning would eventually lead to the Astros' first run of the game, the first of five unanswered runs put up by the defending National League Champions.

The Astros took a 2-1 lead in the third inning on an RBI single by Ensberg, and they tacked on three more in the fourth inning to go up 5-1. With one out and runners on the corners in the 4th, Willy Taveras hit a grounder back up the middle to Garland. Garland tried to start a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning, but Taveras easily beat an errant throw by shortstop Juan Uribe to allow Orlando Palmeiro to score from third and keep the inning alive. Mike Lamb then doubled for Houston, scoring Taveras to make the score 4-1 Houston. Chris Burke singled Taveras home for the Astros' third run of the inning, and what appeared to be a commanding 5-1 lead with the way Buchholz was dealing on the mound. Garland would only last 5 innings today, allowing the 5 earned runs on 8 hits and 5 walks.

Fast forward to the 7th, with the Astros still up 5-1. Up to this point, Buchholz had still only allowed two hits. After striking out Alex Cintron to start the inning, Buchholz walked Thome. More on Cintron later. Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye followed Thome with consecutive singles to load the bases. Thankfully, that would be it on the day for Buchholz, who pitched much better than his final line on the day would attest to. Enter Chad Qualls, the man who gave up a Grand Slam to Konerko on his first pitch in relief back in Game two of the 2005 World Series. This time, Joe Crede was the batter, and Qualls would fare no better. Crede ripped the first pitch from Qualls deep into the left field seats, and all of the sudden the score was tied at 5.

The Sox' bullpen deserves a lot of credit for keeping this one within striking distance. Brandon McCarthy, David Riske, and Matt Thornton combined for 5 innings of two-hit, shutout baseball to keep Houston from running away with this one. Thornton looked particularly sharp, striking out three batters in 2.1 innings of work to earn the victory.

In order for the Sox to win this one, though, they needed extra innings. With the game tied at 5, Rob Mackowiak led off the bottom of the 10th with a double. After an intentional walk was issued to pinch-hitter AJ Pierzynski, Uribe laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt in front of home plate. The only play the Astros had was on Uribe at first, with the runners advancing to second and third on the sacrifice. Podsednik was then intentionally walked to load the bases, and Cintron had a chance to be the hero. He didn't disappoint, lacing a game-winning single into right field to score Mackowiak with the game-winner.

The win was the Sox' 9th in a row, an elusive number which they were unable to reach last season despite several 8-game winning streaks. Tomorrow they will look for their 10th straight win and a sweep of the Astros with Javier Vazquez (8-4, 4.43) facing off against Roy Oswalt (6-3, 3.32). The game will be nationally televised on ESPN, and the start time is 7:05 pm CDT.

Ozzieball Update:
Uribe's sacrifice bunt in the 10th set the stage for Cintron to win the game.

submitted by beckett21.

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

Alex Cintron

Delivered the game-winning hit in the 10th.

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