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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Sweep Sorrow

September 17 at Oakland

How was the trophy defended today?
It wasn't defended all weekend, sadly.

Short Take:Sox letting season slip away as they are swept by the A's.

This one hurts. This time of year, in a tight race, they all hurt. But time is quickly running out on the season as the Sox took it on the chin today by a 5-4 score.

It's not like they didn't have their chances. They loaded the bases in the first inning off A's starter Joe Blanton, but failed to score a run. With one out, Ross Gload, batting in the 2-hole today, singled and stole second base. Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome would each draw a walk, and the bases were loaded. Joe Crede hit a fly ball to centerfield, which Mark Kotsay caught. Kotsay then gunned down Gload at the plate to end the inning.

A.J. Pierzynski led off the next inning with a home run, a solo shot to put the Sox on the board. Wasn't as nice as a grand slam would have been, but it still put the Sox ahead. Alex Cintron singled with one out in the second. He stole second and advanced to third on a wild throw by Jason Kendall, and later scored on a two-out single by Scott Podsednik to put the Sox up 2-0.

The score remained 2-0 Sox going into the 4th inning. Sox starting pitcher Jose Contreras was looking good, having allowed just one hit over the first three innings. Kendall led off the 4th for Oakland with a single, and advanced to third on a double by Kotsay. After striking out Milton Bradley, old friend Frank Thomas stepped to the plate. With first base open, Contreras instead elected to pitch to Thomas. Big mistake. After getting Thomas down in the count 0-2, Contreras ran the count full before Thomas unloaded, a three-run bomb that instantly took the wind out of the Sox' sails and gave the A's a 3-2 lead.

The White Sox almost picked themselves up off the deck in the 5th, once again loading the bases off Blanton. Once again, the Sox offense failed to capitalize and the Sox were left empty-handed. Podsednik led off the inning with a single, but was later thrown out trying to steal second. After singles by Gload and Dye, Thome walked again to load them up for Crede...again. This time, the mighty Crede struck out, and with two outs Pierzynski popped out to end the inning. Conversely, the A's went back to work in the 5th and added another run on an RBI single by Bradley to extend their lead to 4-2. After Payton doubled and eventually scored in the bottom of the 6th, the A's had a 5-2 lead on the Sox going into the 7th.

Podsednik singled to lead off the 7th, and moved to third on a single by Gload. Podsednik would later score on a wild pitch by A's reliever Brad Halsey, cutting the lead down to 5-3. With runners at the corners and one out, Thome grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed Gload to score the Sox' 4th run of the afternoon and cut the defecit to a run. David Riske relieved Contreras to start the 7th inning, and he pitched two perfect innings to keep the Sox in the game. It wasn't meant to be though, as the Sox went down in order in the 8th and 9th innings in a losing effort.

It's a numbers game now, and the numbers are working against the World Champs. With two weeks to play, the Sox find themselves 5 games behind division-leading Detroit, and 4 games behind wild-card leading Minnesota. There is no more room for error; the Sox must win as many games as possible starting tomorrow at home against Detroit. Mark Buehrle (12-12, 4.76) takes the mound against the Tigers' Kenny Rogers (15-6, 3.86) in the opening game of what is most likely the Sox' most important series of the year. Sweeping the three-game series against Detroit would go a long way towards keeping their fading playoff hopes alive. All we can do is cheer them on and watch.

Ozzieball Update:
Three stolen bases in four attempts was nice to see, but failure to execute with the bases loaded twice in the game ultimately did them in. That, and pitching to Frank Thomas with an open base.

submitted by beckett21.

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