White Sox

Manny not needed; Rios, Sox's hot bats top Tribe


Manny not needed; Rios, Sox's hot bats top Tribe

Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010
Updated 12:14 AM

By Brett Ballantini

CLEVELAND What began as a laugher got a little tense, and then nearly tragic.

Thankfully for the Chicago White Sox, already doing the equivalent of treading water while waiting for unbalanced slugger Manny Ramirez to be their sunrise out of the West, the club got its head back above water after slipping below the surface and nearly drowning in a fall-from-ahead, surge back in the 11th, 10-6 win over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Monday night.

With a 1-2 count and two outs, Brent Lillibridge launched a solo shot off of Rafael Perez to provide what would be the deciding run. It also answered a 2-for-27 stretch for the utilityman.

Thats an ugly game, no matter if you win or lose, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. I felt like I was in spring training at Tucson. It was a very bad game. Thank God we won it. You look up at the scoreboard and see 35 people left on base, 36 base hits but when you win, you feel a little bit better.

Lillibridge, whod earlier made an error that led to the tying run scoring in the ninth, had a decidedly brighter reaction: I just thanked God. I was squared up, got it over the fence. I just wanted to get us out of this game, get us home, get a win.

The White Sox added three more tallies in the 11th, including an RBI double from Alex Rios on his fifth hit of the evening.

Alex was huge for us, Guillen said. Rios has been very consistent all year long. Its been a very great year for him.

Manny will change a lot, but check the scoreboard and see how many hits were getting. Our offense has been pretty sturdy the last couple of weeks. We score one or two runs for a game here or there and everybody says, Oh, we need a hitter.

In the empty space of the glass, the White Sox stranded a wholly impeachable 15 runners, including leaving the bases full in three separate innings, with A.J. Pierzynski twice tapping out with the sacks packed, Juan Pierre once.

The White Sox jumped out to a 5-0 lead in just the first two innings, Paul Konerko supplying a two-run double in the first, and Mark Kotsay and Rios supplied three more runs in the second to pace what quickly looked like a runaway.

But the fourth inning featured the revenge of Jayson Nix, who rainbowed a two-run homer deep to left, and in the very next frame Travis Hafner plated another with a long double. But Chisox starter Mark Buehrle bore down, catching Nix looking and, after walking Andy Marte to fill the bases, got Jason Donald swinging.

It wasnt the last Cleveland rally of the night. After Rios clocked a solo homer in the sixth to restore the Chicago lead to three, the Wahoos again put runners on second and third in the eighth. But rather than walking them full, Bobby Jenks came on in relief of Sergio Santos to strike out Asdrubal Cabrera and end the threat.

Jenks would fail to succeed in a too-common inning-plus save. As nails were bitten to nubs, Jenks commenced his blown save with a dreaded leadoff walk to Shin-Soo Choo. After a defensive indifference placed him on second, Shelley Duncan looped a soft single to left, cutting the White Sox lead to 6-4. Hafner then doubled, and with runners on second and third Luis Valbuena singled, scoring Duncan. On Valbuenas Baltimore chop, Lillibridge threw wide to first, the error plating Hafner for the tie. With Valbuena moving to second on the error and third on a groundout, Jenks retired Trevor Crowe on a groundout to Lillibridge.

Im just trying to do my job, Lillibridge said of the game-tying play. It was an in-between play, whether I should have thrown it. Im still going to take a chance on it and be aggressive, but it was a barehand, awkward throw. Im just trying to get Bobby an out. It was a rough inning, and we battled through it.

Both manager and team saw Jenks' effort as heroic, rather than falling short.

Its not Bobbys fault, Guillen said. Our bullpen has to pick him up. Bobbys been throwing a lot of innings. Weve been short in the bullpen so for Jenks to go out and throw 30-40 pitches, thats not easy. Meanwhile, we fought back and score the runs we needed to come back.

What are you going to do, hes missing with balls downhes not catching too much of the plateand all of a sudden theres a trampoline in front of home plate bouncing balls all over the place.

Scott Linebrink relieved Jenks and earned his second win of the season with two perfect innings.

We didnt really plan on drawing the win up like that, Linebrink said. But they got some cheap stuff there in the ninth inning, high choppers and the bloops to the outfield. That stuffs gonna happen sometimes and we were able to battle back."

In what is becoming a tedious trend in White Sox contests as the team wheezes to the end of August, an apparent significant injury was suffered, even in this winning cause. Gordon Beckham, who entered the game hitting .342 over his past 43 games, was hit in his right wrist with a pitch in the seventh. After hitting the dirt and writhing in pain, Beckham walked off the field and was replaced by Lillibridge.

Beckham was in a great deal of pain postgame, but nonetheless felt he would be ready to play by the weekend, at worst. It looked uglier to begin with, when the X-ray technician initially told the second baseman that his hand was broken. Beckham was stunned, before learning that, no, in fact, his hand was merely bruised.

Rookie League, assessed the irritated sophomore.

But in spite of comebacks, fallbacks, injuries and heroism, there were silver linings on Monday night. They just took a little longer to see.

I know we were out here a little bit longer than we wanted to be, but to win a big game like thisif wed have lost this one, it would have been a heartbreaking loss, Linebrink said. So it kind of shifts the momentum right back around and hopefully well catch a wave here and ride it. You battle in games like this, especially on the road, and come up with a victory, that can give you a huge boost of confidence, just like how we strung those hits together in the 11th inning. The same thing can happen with a few games in a row here, with winning.

For all the doomsday scenarios that could have played out progressively, as tired heads hit pillows tonight, its a wonderful way to start a long and crucial road trip.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

White Sox were reportedly one of four teams other than the Brewers to make an offer to Yasmani Grandal


White Sox were reportedly one of four teams other than the Brewers to make an offer to Yasmani Grandal

The White Sox are still supposedly in the hunt for the two big free agents fishes of this offseason, but they also made an offer to catcher Yasmani Grandal.

That's what Robert Murray of The Athletic is reporting.

Apparently, the White Sox were one of four teams to offer a multi-year deal to Grandal, along with the Mets, Angels and Twins. He wound up with the Brewers on a one-year deal worth at least $18.25 million ($16 million for 2019 and a $2.25 million buyout if the mutual option for 2020 isn't picked up).

Back in December, it was reported that the White Sox were "looking at" Grandal as a potential upgrade at catcher. Apparently, that resulted in a contract offer to the 30-year-old.

The offer obviously wasn't accepted, but is another sign of the White Sox trying to be active this offseason and showing some willingness to spend money.


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It's not exactly a play-by-play, but Rick Renteria gives some insight into White Sox meeting with Manny Machado

It's not exactly a play-by-play, but Rick Renteria gives some insight into White Sox meeting with Manny Machado

We don't know too much more today than we did yesterday about Manny Machado's meeting with the White Sox from back in December, the first stop on his free-agent tour that has still yet to yield a decision on where the 26-year-old superstar will be spending the better part of the next decade.

But someone's talking about it.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria was asked about that meeting Wednesday while at a community event ahead of this weekend's SoxFest, and he provided if not details at least a characterization of how the meeting went.

"Listen, Rick (Hahn, general manager) and the front office put a great presentation together for them," Renteria told reporters, including MLB.com's Scott Merkin. "It was very detailed. I would say this: If I was on the other side, I would have been very, very impressed.

"I thought it was a great meeting, great young man. We expressed our interest. We talked about what we are as an organization. And we looked forward. ... You just don't know yet where things will fall. I thought it was a very positive meeting for all parties involved."

Renteria also revealed that Jose Abreu was involved in the meeting with Machado, which if nothing else perhaps provides some insight into how the White Sox view Abreu as a part of their long-term plans.

"Manny spent a lot of time talking to (Abreu)," Renteria said, according to The Score's Bruce Levine. "I think he spent time getting to know us and vice versa. I thought for me it was a very positive meeting with us for all parties involved. Our industry will paint a portrait of everyone in a particular way. What you are looking at is a player who has great talent and has the ability to impact any club. Nothing is done. We will see what happens and, hopefully, we will be a part of that and move on from there."

So that's not exactly a play-by-play of what went down that day at Guaranteed Rate Field. But those are the first public comments we've heard about the meeting from the White Sox, making them decently noteworthy.

Of course, the White Sox and the rest of the baseball world are still waiting on Machado to make up his mind. The South Siders' offer — which Levine once more described as seven years long and worth $175 million — is the only one that's been reported on, leaving it up to the imagination what other offers Machado could be mulling. Those numbers associated with the White Sox reported offer are far from the beginning-of-the-offseason expectations of what kind of deal Machado would receive. But with the White Sox competing perhaps exclusively with the Philadelphia Phillies for Machado's services, the idea of him receiving a record-breaking contract seems less and less likely as the days move along. Though it's that which could be extending this saga, with Machado's agent waiting for an offer more to his liking. Whether he'll get one from the White Sox, Phillies or those mystery teams that keep floating around out there remains unknown.

What seems like a decently safe bet is that things won't be wrapped up when SoxFest commences Friday afternoon. While a surprise Machado introduction in front of the sold-out crowd would be a moment for the ages, Renteria hasn't been clued in that something like that is coming.

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