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Rios hits walk-off slam to push Sox past Indians

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Rios hits walk-off slam to push Sox past Indians

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011Posted: 6:51 p.m. Updated: 8:24 p.m.

Associated Press

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WATCH: Rios discusses his slamWATCH: Humber feeling greatBEERLEAGUER: Peavy done for season

After faltering with the bases loaded all game, Alex Rios wouldn't let the Chicago White Sox come up empty again.Rios hit a game-ending grand slam in the 10th inning to lift Chicago to a 7-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday.Rios' one out, first-pitch shot off Chris Perez (3-7) was Chicago's first game-ending home run this season and his first career grand slam."I assumed he was going to come (inside)," Rios said. "I guess I got the pitch and put a good swing on it. It worked."The blast came after the White Soxloaded the bases with one out for the fifth time in the game. In eachof the first four occasions, Chicago didn't score, leaving the basesfull.The White Sox squandered bases-fullsituations in the first, sixth, eighth and ninth, and stranded 15runners during the first nine innings before Rios snapped the streak inthe 10th."Sometimes you get in stretches whereyou have a hard time scoring runs," Rios said. "I felt like we had oneof those games today. We came through."Rios, one of Chicago's highest-paidplayers, struck out with the bases full in the first inning and hasstruggled to a .222 average this season, making Saturday's triumph thatmuch better."It was great," Rios said. "Webattled through the whole game. It was a long game and to do that, it'sgood. Any time you get a win, it's good."Chicago had plenty of baserunnersall day, with 10 hits and a season-high 11 walks but went just 3 for 15with runners in scoring position."That (summed up) the White Sox season right there," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "The only thing we did good is we won."I'm glad we won, but it was tough.When you see that over and over and over, what's going on? You missed avery interesting Sunday paper if we lose this game."Alejandro De Aza doubled twice, walked and scored two runs for Chicago. Gordon Beckham had a double, two walks and two RBIs.Sergio Santos (4-4) threw a scoreless inning to get the win in relief. Santos combined with Chris Sale to strike out six straight batters during the late innings.Shelley Duncan doubled, homered and scored two runs for Cleveland. Matt LaPorta added a two-run double and Jim Thome singled twice.Indians starter Fausto Carmonaallowed six hits and three runs in 5 1-3 innings, lowering his ERA to9.14 ERA in four starts against the White Sox this season.Perez took the loss and wasn't too happy about the circumstances that led up to it, especially the walks."Very rarely you see major-leaguepitchers one through five have to struggle throwing strikes," Perezsaid. "We'll have our off-days here and there, but not our wholebullpen."Chicago's Phil Humber was sharp inhis six innings, holding Cleveland to two runs and striking out seven,but settled for a no-decision on Saturday after throwing just 73pitches."That's not my call," Humber said ofthe timing of his removal. "Obviously you want to be out there, but atthe same time (Guillen) has been around a long time. I'm never going toquestion the manager on that."I feel great. I feel like today was the best I've thrown in awhile."The Indians went ahead on LaPorta'stwo-run double in the fifth, snapping Humber's streak of 13 1-3scoreless innings. LaPorta was making his first start for the Indianssince Aug. 29, the day before he was sent down to Triple-A Columbus.Adam Dunn singled in the sixth,ending a string of 18 hitless at-bats, and started Chicago's rally. DeAza doubled off the center-field wall, sending Dunn to third andCarmona to the showers after 103 pitches.Chad Durbin replaced Carmona andwalked Brent Morel and Beckham, forcing in Dunn with the tying run.Juan Pierre singled in De Aza, giving Chicago a 3-2 lead.Duncan greeted reliever Jesse Crainwith a homer to left-center in the seventh, tying the score 3-all.Duncan has with five homers and 10 RBIs in seven games over the lastweek.But the hero was Rios, not a title he's been able to claim often this season."If you win it in that fashion, it makes it a little more fun," Rios said. "Every time you get a win, it's important."NOTES: First base umpire Ed Rapuanohad to leave the game in the fourth inning because of sore neck.Indians RHP Josh Tomlin (elbow) is doing "very well" with his throwingprogram and the team is leaning toward not shutting him down, managerManny Acta said. ... DH Travis Hafner (foot) ran the bases on Saturdaybut Acta said there is still no timetable on his return. 3B JackHannahan (calf strain) will rejoin the Indians in Texas, though Acta isnot sure when he'll return to game action. The Indians will send UbaldoJimenez to the mound for Sunday's series finale against Chicago rookieZach Stewart. Jimenez is 2-1 with a 5.56 ERA since he was acquired fromColorado on July 31. Stewart is coming off a one-hit shutout ofMinnesota on Sept. 5 in which he carried a perfect game into the eighthinning.Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materialmay not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

James McCann leads charge for White Sox in running for starting spots in MLB All-Star Game

James McCann leads charge for White Sox in running for starting spots in MLB All-Star Game

Major League Baseball released a second voting update for All-Star Game starters and three White Sox players are still in the mix.

The top three spots at each position (and top nine in the outfield) are all that matter for now, with those players advancing to MLB’s new Starters Election. James McCann is the only member of the White Sox to sit in one of those spots for now.

McCann is second at catcher behind Gary Sanchez of the Yankees. He is nearly 800,000 votes behind the Yankees backstop.

Jose Abreu was in third in the last update at first base, but has fallen behind Carlos Santana of the Indians. Luke Volt, another Yankee, leads with C.J. Cron of the Twins in second. Santana is just under 43,000 votes ahead of Abreu.

Tim Anderson is still in fourth at shortstop. Jorge Polanco of the Twins and Carlos Correa of the Astros are comfortably in the top two spots. Gleyber Torres, yet another Yankee, is just over 45,000 votes ahead of Anderson for third.

There aren’t any other White Sox within striking distance of the top three. Yoan Moncada remains in eighth among third basemen.

Polls close Friday at 3 p.m. CT.

 

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Breaking down Eloy Jimenez's improvement

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USA TODAY

Breaking down Eloy Jimenez's improvement

When Eloy Jiménez returned from the Injured List in late May and rejoined the White Sox lineup, he went on the road to Houston and Minnesota and he struggled to the tune of a .148 batting average and .148 on-base percentage, with four hits (three went over the fence), 11 strikeouts and no walks.

For the season, his slashline was .217/.259/.406 with five walks and 36 strikeouts. He was swinging at 49.8 percent of all the pitches he saw (a bit above the 46.7 percent league average); he was swinging at 38.8 percent of pitches outside the zone (quite a bit above the 30.9 percent league average).

He returned to the comfort of Guaranteed Rate Field on May 27 and took a pair of walks. From that point forward, things started to look a lot better… and the results were in line with that observation.

Eloy Jiménez this season:

  PA AVG OBP SLG BB K Swing % Outside zone swing %
Through May 26 112 ,217 .259 .406 5 36 49.8 38.8
Since May 27 71 .297 .366 .594 7 18 45.9 30.8

Not only has he improved quite a bit, but that 30.8 outside the zone swing percentage is second only to Yonder Alonso’s 29.9 percent mark among White Sox with at least 40 plate appearances since May 27. Jiménez hasn’t been chasing nearly as many bad pitches lately.

Those pitches he has been laying off of have for the most part been the low and away stuff, as indicated by his swing charts below. First, his swing rates before getting hurt and then since he came back from injury.

These charts are from the catcher’s perspective, and from what you can see, he has done a much better job of laying off the low and away pitches. Look at the three zones furthest low and away. There’s a big difference.

Start of the year through May 26:

Since May 27:

Through May 26 he swung at 33.8 percent of pitches (51 of 151)  low and away and out of the zone. Since May 27 he has swung at 14.5 percent of those pitches (10 of 69).

It’s only an 18-game sample, so there will certainly be more adjustments made to combat Jiménez, but I believe we’re watching Eloy begin to mature into the middle of the order force as he was advertised.

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