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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Back to .500

June 1, vs. Oakland


KW's Daily Special:
Elephant Burgers
In honor of the official mascot of the A's, we grind 'em, beat 'em, grill 'em, and serve 'em just the way you like it.

Short Take: Early offensive struggles only pave way for late-game comeback, as Sox refuse to lose right now.

Two weeks ago, the Sox were at their nadir, 7 games under .500 and coming off a humiliating 1-6 road trip and a 4-game sweep in Toronto at the hands of the Jays.  At 15-22, they were the 3rd worst team in the American League and it seemed like a question of "when," not "if" some of the veterans on an under performing roster would be packaged, shopped, and shipped out of the Windy City.  Tonight, after a big comeback win, the Sox are winners of 10 of their last 13 and at 25-25, have the best record in the American League over the past 14 days.  Gavin Floyd gave the Sox another quality start and Jim Thome's 3-run blast in the 8th inning highlighted the decisive frame as the Sox cruised past Oakland for a 6-2 win, their season-best 4th straight.

The renaissance of Scott Podsednik as a Major League lead-off hitter has been nothing short of remarkable and again, he was the straw that stirred the Sox's drink.  His promotion from Charlotte on May 1st was ridiculed as nothing more than a token job given to an old friend (hey, this is Chicago).  Instead, Podsednik's was hitting .290/.338/.391 in 16 games leading off, and although he went 0-3 tonight, he drew 2 key walks and given the number of pick-off throws he received, is still perceived to be a threat (and nuisance) on the bases.

As for tonight, the only injustice was that Floyd didn't come home with a win.  In the first, after two quick outs, Gavin got Jack Cust to ground into the relaxed infield shift... Except Alexei Ramirez apparently didn't feel like bending down to field that ball, allowing Cust first on the weakest single in history, and, you guessed it, one batter later Matt Holliday took Floyd at least 20 rows up the left field bleachers.  That ball was crushed, and the A's were up 2-0.

Facing Trevor Cahill, a young lefty who started the year well but has since struggled, the Sox immediately jumped on him.  Podsednik drew a lead-off walk and moved to third on a hit-and-run single to right field by Ramirez.  Jermaine Dye's sacrifice fly to right field cut the Oakland lead in half, but just as it seemed the Sox were primed to have a big inning and knock the young lefty out early, Paul Konerko's deep fly ball to left field would have been a home run, had Holliday not brought it back with a spectacular catch.  After that, Cahill really settled in, retiring 12 in a row after Alexei's 1st inning single and the chorus of "Here we go again," was starting to be sung when A.J. Pierzynski lead off the 5th inning with a solo bomb to right field, to tie the score and break Cahill's consecutive outs streak.

Floyd earned his stripes tonight in the 7th.  With the Sox offense still stalling and the game tied at 2, Floyd got 2 quick outs but hit the wall after that, walking Ryan Sweeney, allowing a soft single up the middle to Aaron Cunningham, and walking Jack Hannahan and his sub-.200 batting average.  The critical at bat of the game belonged to Orlando Cabrera... Hey, I remember you, you were kind of a jerk last year.  Tonight belonged to Floyd and the Sox, as Orlando chased a breaking ball in the dirt to strike out and end the scare.

After a dominant 1-2-3 inning of work by Matt Thornton in the 8th, the Sox put the game away.  Facing Craig Breslow, who relieved Cahill in 6th, Podsednik again drew a lead-off walk.  Oakland countered with Santiago Casilla, who entered tonight's game allowing 17 hits and 11 walks in only 19 innings of work.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is what we call a good omen.  Casilla retired Alexei on quite possibly the world's worst bunt attempt ever, but a single by Jermaine Dye set up Thome for the dramatic, 3-run blast and the Sox had all but wrapped this one up.  They added a 4th run in the inning when Jayson Nix drew a bases loaded walk courtesy of Kevin Cameron.  Scott Linebrink set the A's up and down in order, and fireworks lit the South Side sky.

The win moves the Sox 1/2 game closer to idle and first-place Detroit, and while a lot has been made that they've only stayed in the race so long because of the weak Central division, the Sox would only be 4.5 games behind the East-leading Yankees and a whole 5 games behind the Rangers, who are pacing the entire American League.  There's a lot of baseball to be played, and finally, the Sox seem like they're playing to win.

The Sox and A's mix it up again tomorrow at the Cell.  Bartolo Colon will take the hill for the Pale Hose against Vin Mazzaro, a 22-year-old righty who will be making his Major League debut tomorrow night.  First pitch is at 7:11 PM Central time, and the game will be aired on Comcast Sports Net.

WSI's Critic's Corner:  Another 5-star performance from Ozzie's crew, the first inning whet the palate, and a 4-run eighth inning left a satisfied taste in everyone's mouth.


submitted by doublem23

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

Jim Thome

Jim rediscovers his flair for dramatic, milestone homers; his 550th dinger in the 8th inning put this one away.

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