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White Sox blast Royals to end losing streak

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White Sox blast Royals to end losing streak

Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011Posted: 4:20 p.m. Updated: 5:28 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
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WATCH: Pierzynski happy to get a winWATCH: Danks reviews startREAD: Seven things we've learned about the White Sox

KANSAS CITY In a game witnessed by 325 canines for Kauffman Stadiums Bark at the K promotion, both of Sundays starters were doggedly determined to reject good fortune.

The worm turned on the Godfather, Ozzie Guillen, measuring words carefully to Kansas City starter Bruce Chen.

I told Bruce Chen Were going to kick your butt today, the Godfather chuckled. I did. Ask him.

However Ozzie said, Chen listened, as the Chicago White Sox surprisingly broke through and touched Cy for four runs and nine hits over 5 13 innings.

Unfortunately on the flip side, struggling Chisox starter John Danks did all he could to return the bounty right back to the Royals, slapped with 10 hits and four runs (three earned) over six-plus innings. But Danks managed to earn the win without a single strikeout (or walk) as the White Sox scored six late runs to secure the 10-5 victory and salvage a win in Sundays four-game series finale.

Early on he was pretty good, catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. He made some good pitches when he had to, Brent Morel threw a guy out at the plate. He wasnt perfect or good as he can be, but he made pitches when he had to and thats what good guys do.

He came through it, Guillen said. He lost it for a couple of innings. He was good, and all of a sudden he lost it and was throwing the all over the place. But he gave us the opportunity to win and keep the team out there.

As an indication of just how sluggish his stuff has gotten, Danks has just two strikeouts over his last two starts (11 innings). Although Danks did earn his seventh win of the season, September has been forgettable for the ace lefty: A 9.14 ERA, 1.98 WHIP and 28 game score over four starts.

I have no idea, Danks said with regard to his stuff in September. My last few, today included, I dont feel Ive had great stuff, I guess. Its part of the learning process, to go out there and throw strikes and compete the best you can without your best stuff. Today it worked out, and in my last few, it hasnt.

Pierzynski didnt get to wreak revenge against Chen for the cagey lefty having broken the catchers wrist with a pitch on August 12, sending Pierzynski to the DL for the first time, although he just missed a deep triple to right-center off him and later clocked a towering home run to right to provide Chicago an insurance run.

The backstop went back-to-back behind Paul Konerko, who clocked his 30th home run of the season and now has five campaigns where he has tapped out at least 30 dingers and driven in 100 runs, second in team history to Frank Thomas.

Its one of those things where theres a balance of thats your job to drive in runs and drive the ball, Konerko said. The last couple of years Im trying to switch up goals, and what is good for me is showing up for 150-plus games. If I make that goal, the byproduct will be the numbers.

A.J. had a great night and Im very excited about PK, Guillen said. He may be the only bright thing we have here this year, 30 home runs, 100-plus RBI, with really no protection in the order. Im very happy for him. I was pulling for that home run more than anything else. A lot of people think Well, 30 home runs, 100 RBI, youre still losing, but it means a lot to him and it means a lot to me seeing one of my players have success and have a great year.

Slumping slugger Adam Dunn broke out, to a degree, vs. Chen, who entered the game 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA vs. the White Sox this season. The DH had a double down the right-field line in the fourth and lined a single off of Chen in the sixth, for a 2-for-5 day. Dunn had his first extra-base hit vs. a lefthander this season and first since August 6, 2010. The RBI on the double was Dunns first since Aug. 8.

As the Royals crept within 6-4 with a run in the seventh, Chicago bit right back with a four-run rally that started with none on and two outs. The key blow was Pierzynskis second homer of the game, a three-run shot off the right field foul pole. It was A.J.s first multihomer game of the year, fourth of his career, and first since July 9, 2010 against the Royals.

The win prevented a season-high eight-game losing streak for the White Sox.

It feels good, especially with the off-day, Pierzynski said of the win. It seems like weve been grinding. Going into the off-day with a good feeling, hopefully we play well the first two games of the doubleheader there on Tuesday. Its nice to win on a travel day, and its nice to win on a football day so we can relax and watch football.

Were all competitive we have pride, Danks said. We dont have many games left, but were going to try to win all of them. Theres nothing else to do but save face and have a decent taste in our mouths going into the offseason. Were not out here going through the motions. Were trying to win more games.

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

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

White Sox Talk Podcast: The 10th anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Chuck Garfien and Steve Stone take a look back at Mark Buehrle's perfect game. How did Buehrle do it? How did Dewayne Wise make that catch?

Plus, Buehrle and A.J. Pierzynski talk about how Buehrle actually told Pierzynski before taking that field that day that he would throw a perfect game and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Yoan Moncada cleans up for White Sox: 'I think we found our No. 4 hitter'

Yoan Moncada cleans up for White Sox: 'I think we found our No. 4 hitter'

Though Jose Abreu and James McCann represented the team at the All-Star Game earlier this month, Yoan Moncada holds the title of the White Sox best hitter through the first 97 games of the 2019 season.

The guy who struck out 217 times during his first full season in the majors last year has been a completely different hitter this time around. Instead of looking lost at the plate, he’s the guy White Sox fans want to see at the plate in run-producing situations. He hasn’t spent much time in one of those traditional run-producing spots in the batting order, but manager Rick Renteria inserted Moncada into the cleanup spot Monday night.

And Moncada cleaned up, all right.

“I think we found our No. 4 hitter,” starting pitcher Ivan Nova said after he went the distance in a 9-1 waxing of the Miami Marlins. “A lot of times you get surprised. While he was hitting second, you're thinking and knowing, the type of hitter that he is — you're only thinking as a player, they have another way to think. But today, I think it was first time hit in fourth, and he showed.”

Moncada went 2-for-4 with the game’s biggest blow, a three-run homer in the fifth inning that blew things wide open. He drove in four runs on the night, and he flashed a potential glimpse of the future of this future-focused franchise.

Combining with Abreu, who went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three runs scored, Moncada showed what the middle of the order might look like for this team when rebuilding finally transitions to contending. That could come as soon as next year, and when you throw the currently injured Eloy Jimenez into that group, the White Sox could boast a fearsome 3-4-5 as soon as later this season.

“If someone is happy that we finally found a cleanup hitter, it’s me,” Abreu said through team interpreter Billy Russo. “Nothing that he does surprises me because I know all the talent he has. I know that he still can do more. He has been working hard. He’s a great baseball player with a lot of talent and I still think he can do more.

“What he did today is not a surprise for me. I still know he’s a great player and I think we’ve seen that throughout the whole season this year. He’s going to get better.”

Moncada has been sensational all season long, proving why the White Sox weren’t at all worried during his struggles in 2018. He owns a .304/.362/.530 slash line through these first 97 games, and his three-run blast Monday night gave him a new career high in that category after he smacked 17 a year ago. He’s six RBIs away from setting a new career high there, too. And even though he made a fielding error Monday that only briefly delayed Nova finishing off his complete-game effort, Moncada has been generally excellent at third base in his first season at that position as a big leaguer.

But putting Moncada in a run-producing spot in the order is a new wrinkle for Renteria this season. Coming into Monday’s game, Moncada had spent 63 games as the team’s No. 2 hitter and just 26 everywhere else. According to the skipper, Moncada is good enough to hit anywhere, and that’s certainly true. His eventual everyday spot in the lineup might have more to do with the hitters around him than simply what he can do by himself.

But if Moncada keeps up the kind of offensive production he’s churned out this season, maybe sticking him right in the thick of the order is what's best for the White Sox — even if those lineups of the future include big bats like those swung by Abreu, Jimenez, Luis Robert and Andrew Vaughn.

“For me, it's an advantage to hit in the cleanup spot having (Abreu) ahead of me,” Moncada said through Russo. “That way, you can see how the pitchers are attacking him, and you have a better idea, in those situations when you need to produce, how the pitchers are doing it. Even though he's a right-handed hitter and I hit from both sides of the plate, it's good. It's something that gives you a better idea of how the pitchers are doing, how their pitches are working.”

“He had a nice game,” Renteria said. “He can hit anywhere in the middle and the top of the order. I wish I could say I'm really a genius, but I'm not. He's got that talent. He's able to take advantage of it and today he had a nice day. He made everybody look good.”

It would make sense to see Moncada batting fourth again as this first homestand of the second half and the 2019 season roll on, but that’s up to Renteria, who has his reasons for every permutation to his lineups.

Of course, if Abreu gets ahold of Renteria's lineup card and starts writing out the batting orders, we’ll know where Moncada will be slotted.

“If I would have that decision,” Abreu said, “I would put him in the cleanup spot for the rest of the season.”

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