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Thomas' double in 10th lifts Sox
It would be easy to say Brian Daubach made a big splash Thursday night. It would be true too.
Daubach, making his first start in six games, became the first player this season to hit a home run into the pool beyond the right-field fence at Bank One Ballpark.
The 408-foot blast was Daubach's first in a White Sox uniform. It gave his team a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning, which turned into a 3-2 victory over Arizona when Frank Thomas doubled home Tony Graffanino in the 10th. Billy Koch got the win.
Leadoff hitter Tony Womack responded in the bottom of the inning with his first home run since Sept. 1, a span of 251 at-bats. It was only the third hit allowed by Dan Wright, who entered the game with two quality starts out of five.
"We need to see some consistency from him, no doubt about it," manager Jerry Manuel said. "We're in a position now where all starts are magnified. Everything is a little bigger, so the leash could be a little shorter. The bullpen's ready and in good shape."
Manuel didn't need the bullpen until the seventh.
But the Sox's struggling lineup left Wright with a no-decision.
In his continuing effort to find a decent formula, Manuel used his 53rd different lineup in 59 games. The Sox have not used the same lineup in consecutive games this season.
The carousel went around to Daubach's name Thursday.
The veteran infielder/outfielder earned a spot in the lineup after his gutsy ninth-inning at-bat Wednesday. After taking two borderline strikes from fellow lefty Mike Myers, Daubach ripped a two-run double to right.
"It is a reward for a guy battling the way he did," Manuel said. "That was a heck of an at-bat for us and put a lot of spirit in the club."
Manuel said he also started Daubach because he had faced Diamondbacks starter Elmer Dessens in spring training.
"And he is a low-ball pitcher," he said.
Daubach pulled Dessens' 1-0 pitch into deep right-center in the sixth. A blonde woman wearing a green tank top dived into the water while clutching her cell phone to fetch the ball. It was the BOB's first "splash" shot since the Dodgers' Brian Jordan did it in September.
The Sox entered the night 25-33 with a five-game losing streak and 7 1/2 games behind American League Central-leading Minnesota. The team's media relations department pointed out that the 1983 Sox, who went on to win their division by 20 games, were in fifth place after 58 games with a record of 27-31.
Frank Thomas has never played a game in Dodger Stadium. But he took batting practice there in 1994 for a commercial shoot.
"I remember the ball didn't carry well," he said. " We took a lot of BP and the ball didn't go anywhere."
Manuel has a far different memory of the ballpark. As third-base coach for Montreal in 1991, he witnessed Dennis Martinez's perfect game.
"That was awesome," he said. "That Sunday day game is tough. The ball doesn't travel and it's tough [for hitters] to see."
Bring your glove
Look for Thomas to get more time at first base, even after this weekend's interleague games in Los Angeles. The reason is simple: Thomas extended his hitting streak to eight games Thursday night with a mammoth homer in the sixth. He's hitting .400 when playing first this season, .240 as a DH. The career splits (.336 vs. .283) are also telling.
"There's no use running or hiding from that," Manuel said. "If that's what it takes to get the best from him, we have to put him out there."
The Sox considered promoting infielder Aaron Miles from Triple-A Charlotte before their series against Arizona but opted to keep 12 pitchers instead. The time could be right to recall Miles, a sparkplug batting .325.