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Durham answers the call in pinch
Ray Durham wasn't supposed to play Sunday.
But when White Sox manager Jerry Manuel called on the second baseman to pinch-hit with the bases loaded and the game tied in the bottom of the seventh inning, Durham responded with a two-run single for the go-ahead runs of an 11-8 victory at Comiskey Park.
"[Durham] was a bit under the weather this morning," said Manuel, who rested Durham because of a cold in his throat but opted to have him bat for starting left fielder Jeff Liefer with the game tied 8-8. "Ray's been swinging the bat well and he's had some big RBIs for us.
"We felt that was the best time for it instead of putting that much pressure on Liefer, who hasn't had that many at-bats."
Detroit left fielder Bobby Higginson misplayed Durham's single, allowing the runner from first to score.
"I was looking for something up in the zone, and I just put a good swing on it," said Durham, 3-for-3 in bases-loaded situations this year.
The three-run seventh was set up by the ineffectiveness of losing pitcher Jose Paniagua (0-1). After a leadoff single by Frank Thomas, Paniagua threw two wild pitches to allow Thomas to reach third. The second was on ball four to Magglio Ordonez, who stole second before Paul Konerko popped to short.
After Paniagua threw two balls to Jose Valentin, the Tigers opted to intentionally walk the third baseman, setting up Durham's at-bat.
"If you don't start, you have to be ready," said Valentin, who went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer. "Ray got the call and once again he came through for us. It took one at-bat for him to do it all."
The Tigers scored three in the first off Jon Rauch, but the Sox sent 12 men to the plate in the bottom of the inning and tallied eight runs, knocking out Detroit starter Jose Lima before the end of the inning.
But Higginson led the Tigers' comeback by cutting the deficit to 8-5 with a two-out, two-run double in the second inning, and after a Mike Rivera RBI double, Higginson's two-run homer tied 8-8 in the fourth.
"It wasn't the cold weather," said Rauch, who allowed eight runs on six hits and three walks in four innings. "It's just a matter of going out there and getting the job done. I didn't do that today."
With the game tied in the sixth, Kenny Lofton robbed Rivera of a home run with a leaping catch in front of the left-center-field wall.
"That was the play," Valentin said. "That changed the whole game."
Sox relievers Bob Howry, Mike Porzio, Antonio Osuna and Keith Foulke shut down the Tigers from the fifth inning on. Osuna (3-0) picked up the win, while Foulke earned his fifth save.
The RBIs in the first inning came on a Thomas sacrifice fly, a Konerko two-run double, Valentin's two-run homer, a Lofton RBI single and Tony Graffanino's two-run triple. Graffanino went 2-for-4 replacing Durham in the lineup.