Saturday, July 17, 2010
Updated: 12:01 AM
By Brett Ballantini
MINNEAPOLIS Sometimes, Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen might malaprop, you cant lose for winning.
See, his White Sox are on such a spirited run that even when their effort flags and another long winning streak is hacked at the knees at the ripe age of nine, the second-place Detroit Tigers are romper stomped by the ill-mannered, prepubescent Wahoos somewhere south of Lake Erie.
Thus, the Chicago Nines 7-4 setback to the former Dominican Wunderkind, Francisco Liriano was a mere flesh wound. The Windy City Wonders will remain all alone in first place for another day.
What Im most proud of is our guys fought back, Guillen said. We didnt give up, we made a run, and at the end we had a chance to tie or win the game with our two best hitters Alex Rios and Paul Konerko up.
Perhaps the bigger effect of Lirianos stellar 7.2 innings of workscattering six hits and two earned runs, while striking out eightwas the way it spared the Minnesota bullpen after an ineffectual effort in the series opener.
You have to hand it to Liriano, he was great, said White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, who along with Alexei Ramirez paced the Sox with 2-4, one RBI nights. He worked both sides of the plate, had tough stuff, both hard and off-speed.
Chicago inflicted little damage on its hurling nemesis, using a Gordon Beckham double-Juan Pierre single to plate its first run in the fifth and an Alex Rios safety on a dropped third strike and Paul Konerko double to draw the White Sox within two in the eighth.
Minnesota struck for its second big inning in as many nights. On Thursday, the Twins offense was fueled by a six-run second that would not hold up against a churning, burning Pale Hose O. On Friday, a fours wild attack from Minnesota exploited Sox starter Gavin Floyd for four in the fourth, as J.J. Hardy, Denard Span and Orlando Hudson singles accounted for all four runs.
I felt like I had pretty good stuff, Floyd said. It was just one of those games. Its not always going to go your way, even when you hope it does.
It was a disastrous fielding night for the Chisox, with badly-winged tosses from Floyd, Beckham and reliever Tony Pena and a two-step effort from Dayan Viciedo at third totaling four errors. A week ago, Chicago committed an almost-unfathomable five Es in a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels, but thats a bullet to be dodged just once a generation.
Weve got to field the ball, Beckham said. We didnt field it tonight, and it cost us.
Beckham tapped in A.J. Pierzynski with a desperation run with one out in the ninth, and when Minnesota closer Jon Rauch imploded by loading the bases with just one out, then walking in a run, it seemed that the Chisox might be destined to push another win streak into double-digits.
Alas, Rios struck a first-pitch liner to center off emergency closer Jesse Crain that hung up just long enough for Span to snag. Crain then punched out Konerko on three straight pitches, and for just one night the Twins could feel as if they were back in the AL Central race.
Eventually you realize that a win streak is going to stop, Floyd said. Hopefully tomorrow well get going on another good run.
The Triple Play
Saturdays Pitching Probables (6:10 p.m., WGN)
White Sox LHP Mark Buehrle (8-7, 4.24 ERA)
Twins RHP Carl Pavano (10-6, 3.58 ERA)
Juan Pierre had a rare night where he didnt score a run but did muster a K, but overall the left fielder managed some solid defense and a 1-3, one-RBI, two-walk night.
White Sox Notable Numbers
The six White Sox losses over the last 32 games have been by a total of 11 runs, and this was the first game the team has lost by more than two runs since June 8 Gavin Floyd is 3-2 with a 1.30 ERA and 3.54 strikeouts per walk in his last eight starts. Hes received two runs or less support in seven of his last 10 starts Alexei Ramirez is hitting .361 in his last 20 games and is 6-9 in his career vs. Francisco Liriano Gordon Beckham is batting .357 with six homers and 14 RBI in 19 career games vs. the Twins.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.