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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Tough Act to Follow

April 19, vs. Texas

Back to the Grind,
or Just Grinded?

Today's Sox cut of meat:
New York Strip
Not worthy of yesterday's prime rib effort, but I'm still throughly satisfied. 

Short Take: Homers by A.J. Pierzynski and Rob Mackowiak help lift Sox past Texas and back to .500.

Not since Jack McDowell took the mound against the Baltimore Orioles on August 12, 1991 had a Sox pitcher faced a game like Javier Vazquez did tonight against the Rangers.  On that Monday in 1991, McDowell took the mound a day after Wilson Alvarez tossed the 16th no-hitter in White Sox history.  Tonight, Vazquez followed the 17th.  Yes, it was a tough act to follow, but fortunately for the Sox, things went better this time around, as a pair of homers by A.J. Pierzynski and Rob Mackowiak helped lift the Sox back to .500 with a 6-4 win over the Rangers (In 1991, McDowell pitched 7 strong innings, but the Sox still lost thanks to the bullpen, 5-4 in 11 innings).

Before Buehrle's gem, Javier Vazquez had been the hottest Sox starter out of the gates.  In his first 2 starts of the season, Vazquez pitched 12 innings, winning a team high 2 games, and posting a 1.50 ERA (best in the starting rotation).  And, hey, give the man credit where it's due.  He set down the first four Rangers of the evening, which is roughly 15% of a no-hitter.  However, with one down in the 2nd, the always hateable Sammy Sosa drove a home run over the left field wall and put Texas up 1-0.

Meanwhile, on the mound for Texas was another "easy to hate" character, Vicente Padilla.  You might remember him from his constant plunkings of A.J. Pierzynski last year that added some spice to the Sox-Rangers rivalry that had been missing since the days of the mid-90s when the two vied for the top spot in the old A.L. West and Nolan Ryan beat up on Robin Ventura.  Bad baserunning and more lackadaisical offense haunted the Sox until the 4th.  Still down 1-0, Padilla walked Jim Thome and Paul Konerko.  After a fly out by Jermaine Dye, Pierzynski got some sweet and overdue revenge, taking Padilla just over the right field wall for a 3-run bomb and a 2-run lead.  

Meanwhile, Vazquez was simply on fire.  Aside from his 370-foot hiccup to Sosa, he was mowing down the Rangers like he was wearing #56.  In fact, the next time had to work from the stretch was in the 5th, when he allowed a 2-out walk to Ian Kinsler.  However, by the 6th Javier was showing signs of fatigue.  Chris Stewart (yes, the same guy who went 0-8 in 6 games with the White Sox in 2006), singled to lead off the frame.  He moved into scoring position when Kenny Lofton grounded out to Tadahito Iguchi.  After Javier got Frank Catalanotto to ground out, it looked like he may just get out of the inning unscathed, but Michael Young drove an RBI double into right field to cut the Sox's lead to 1.  In the 7th, Sammy Sosa started things off with a double.  Ozzie Guillen pulled Vazquez in favor of Andrew Siscoe, and while the big right hander was able to keep Sosa from scoring, it was still in about as ineffective a way as possible, as Blalock connected for a double (Sosa held up at third).  Mike MacDougal did come in and retire the next three Rangers in order, but unfortunately, Ian Kinsler was able to lift a sacrifice fly to score Sosa and knot the score at 3.

In the 7th, however, the Sox looked poised to get those runs back and more.  Rob Mackowiak singled to lead off the inning and was sacrificed into scoring position by Juan Uribe.  That would be all for Padilla, as the Rangers used two more pitchers to get through the 7th.  Ron Mahay did his job, getting Darin Erstad to ground out (but move Mackowiak to third) before Scott Feldman walked Tadahito Iguchi and then walked Jim Thome intentionally... Yes, they walked the bases loaded to get to Paul Konerko.  Konerko, however, could not respond, falling behind in the count 0-2 quickly, before eventually striking out on a tailing slider.  After a 1-2-3 inning by Matt Thornton, the Sox's bats went to work again.  Still facing Feldman, the offense was able to reignite the rally.  Jermaine Dye led off the inning with a double to the right field wall.  After Kenny Lofton awkwardly snared a laser that had been hit by Pierzynski, Joe Crede put the Sox up for good with a single right back up the middle to score Dye.  Mackowiak put the final nail in Texas's coffin with a 2-run bomb to right field (those runs actually came in very helpful), and once again, Paul Konerko struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning.

If there was one final highlight of the night, it would have to be Bobby Jenks, who came on to finish out the game and though he did allow a run when Mark Teixeira scored on a sac fly, he was constantly hitting 95 MPH on the gun at U.S. Cellular Field, the most velocity he's had on his fastball this season.  Jenks picked up his 4th save of the year and Matt Thornton was credited with the win.  The Sox, meanwhile, are back at .500 for the first time since Sunday and are in a mathematical tie with the Indians for third place in the division.

They now travel east on I-94 to Detroit for a weekend series with the defending American League Champion Tigers.  Rookie John Danks will take the hill for the Sox, looking to snap a personal 2-game losing streak against Chad Durbin of the Tigers, some guy who has allowed 17 hits and and 12 runs in 8 2/3 innings of work for the American League Champs.  The series kicks off tomorrow night, at 6:05 PM Central Time and will be aired on Comcast Sports Net.

Back to the Grind Update:
5 of 6 runs tonigh come via the long ball, but good "grinder" effort to score the go-ahead run in the 8th... A lead-off double and a single back up the middle by Crede puts the Sox ahead for good.

submitted by doublem23.

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

Rob Mackowiak

2-3 on the night with a big 2-run home run in the 8th inning that provided the eventual margin of victory for the Sox.

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September 29... The Last (And Lost) Weekend

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