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WSI News - Totally Biased Game Recaps

Detroit Declawed

September 17, vs. Detroit


Today's Sox Crew:
Tiger Tamers, Inc.
Problems with big cats are their speciality

Short Take: Dominant bullpen and aggressive baserunning help push Sox over the top in critical 5-4 win over Tigers

For a team full of mashers playing at homer-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, the turning point of the season wasn’t a key home run or a sharp double down the line; it was a smart, hustle play at second base that won’t show up in a box score or spreadsheet (other than E4).  After years of giving “fundamentals” only lip service in the Spring, the Sox delivered at a critical moment in a game with decisive implications in the 2-team race atop the AL Central, as the Sox declawed the Tigers 5-4 in a 1-game matinee make-up series to extend their division lead to 3 games over Detroit with 16 games left on the schedule.

The play in question occurred in the 5th inning.  After crawling back from an early 3-0 hole, the Sox again found themselves trailing, now 4-3.  After failing to score a run in the 3rd with the bases loaded, the Sox again loaded them in the 4th (and did score 3 runs that inning) and again in the 5th, with Dayan Viciedo batting and 1 out in the inning, Tigers reliever Al Albuquerque induced what looked to be surely an inning-ending, rally-killing, season-jeopardizing double play ball to short.  However, as Omar Infante turned on the relay to 1st, Alex Rios came bearing down on the Tigers 2B, forcing an errant throw in the dirt that even Prince Fielder’s husky frame couldn’t block.  The ball ended up in Detroit’s dugout.  Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko scored.  The Sox had their first lead of the day at 5-4 and weren’t looking back.

The Sox got a passable start by Jose Quintana that will look worse in the box score than it will on tape.  Both of his walks were intentional.  Most of the hits he allowed were softly hit balls that found holes, not rockets into the outfield.  Though Quintana battled, and really, the damage could have been a lot worse, the story of this game was the Sox bullpen.  Nate Jones relieved Quintana in the 5th, with the score tied at 3 and the Tigers knocking on the door with runners at 1st and 3rd and no out.  After blowing a pair of fastballs past Delmon Young, Jones went to his off-speed stuff and allowed an 0-2 RBI single to give the Tigers a 1-run lead, but he stopped the bleeding, getting a 4-6-3 double play out of Jhonny Peralta and ending the inning on a Brennan Boesch ground out.  Little did anyone know at the time, that was the beginning of a streak of 14 Tigers in a row the Sox bullpen would retire to close out the game.

Offensively it was an odd day for the Sox, while guys like Alex Rios and Dewayne Wise came up big in spots, the Sox also stranded 10 runners on the game, failed to score a run in 2 separate innings with the bases loaded and 1 out, and Wise may have been the biggest goat of the year had the pitching not been so phenomenal.  Still, they clawed and scratched their way when needed.  After the Tigers scored 3 runs in the 3rd and the Sox failed to answer despite loading the bases, they loaded them again the next inning and finally broke through, the first run scoring thanks to Doug Fister who plunked Gordon Beckham and the big blow of the inning came when Dewayne Wise singled sharply into center field to score AJ Pierzynski and Viciedo.  Though the Tigers recaptured the lead in the 4th, it only served to set up Rios’s critical slide in the 5th that tipped the score back in the Sox’s favor.

While the Sox were busy running Detroit over on the basepaths, their much maligned lately bullpen came through in the biggest game of the season.  Jones put the Tigers down on 9 pitches in the 6th and 8 more to get the first 2 batter sin the 7th before Robin Ventura called his dynamite LOOGY Donnie Veal to get Prince Fielder (again), whom he dispatched on a 5-pitch strikeout.  Brett Myers had a perfect 8th and got the 1st out of the 9th before being pulled for Matt Thornton, who blew high-90s heat past pinch hitter Andy Dirks to set the table for Addison Reed’s 27th save of the season, which he earned as Austin Jackson flew out, fittingly, to Rios to end the game.

As stated, the win pushes the Sox to 3 games, back to where it was exactly a week ago following their win over Detroit last Monday.  The Sox head out to Kansas City to open a three-game series with the Royals tomorrow night as Gavin Floyd will face off with Luke Hochevar at Kaufman.  Game time is 7:10 PM Central time and the game will be aired over Comcast Sports Net.  Detroit heads back home to take on the surging A’s.

Go Sox.

WSI's
KW Appreciates The Game:
 5 manufactured runs, no homers, and a dominant outing by the bullpen?  Can a brother get a KW-ball?


submitted by doublem23

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

Bullpen

Jones, Veal, Myers, Thornton, and Reed saw 15 Tigers today.  They retired 14 of them.

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