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Joyride ends with a jolt for Sox
Perhaps a new slogan is in order.
2003 White Sox: feast or famine.
A team that couldn't do anything right for more than two months was unstoppable for two weeks.
And a team that could've given Sandy Koufax fits over the last week couldn't touch Seattle's Ryan Franklin on Saturday night.
"He kept his pitches down and kept us off balance," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said.
So goes life for the Sox, who got drubbed 10-0 by the Mariners before a sold-out crowd of 45,719 at Safeco Field.
It was the sixth time the Sox have been shut out this season, and the first since July 10. They tied a season low with three hits, all singles.
Pretty stunning for a team that had been batting .323 since the All-Star break and averaging 7.9 runs per game.
The loss knocked the Sox out of a first-place tie with the Royals, who rallied for a 10-8 victory over Tampa Bay.
After winning 13 of 14 games and flying from Kansas City to Seattle without an off-day, the Sox looked like a tired bunch.
"I probably need to freshen a few guys up," Manuel said.
Roberto Alomar won't start Sunday afternoon. Nor will Frank Thomas, who is hitless in his last 16 at-bats and has been stuck on 1,999 hits since Wednesday.
"Unless we need a pinch-hitter [Sunday], I'll give Frank a shot to get 2,000 at home," Manuel said. "He seems to rise to the occasion in that atmosphere."
Thomas had no problem with being told to take a break Sunday.
"That's fine," he said. "I haven't done a thing for the last four days. Sometimes it's good to take one off.
"I was shocked I was in there today, to be honest, after not getting a hit in three straight games. We have a hot enough team with so many guys swinging the bat, so it's not a big dropoff."
The Sox's pitching was no better than their lineup Saturday.
After they entered the game with 67 quality starts, the most in the American League, Dan Wright didn't help the cause Saturday.
Wright, making his first start big-league start since July 11 following a demotion to Triple-A Charlotte, gave up six runs (five earned) over five innings.
He pitched decently until the sixth, when John Olerud ripped a three-run homer on a 3-2 breaking ball that sailed over the heart of the plate.
"I thought I threw OK," Wright said. "I just made a bad pitch to Olerud and that really killed us."
Olerud's homer put the Mariners ahead 6-0, but the veteran first baseman wasn't done.
An inning later he hit a grand slam off Matt Ginter, giving him a career-high seven RBIs.
Wright is slated for bullpen duty until Aug. 12, the next time the Sox will need a fifth starter.
Some in the organization believe that Wright, a 14-game winner in 2002 who fell to 0-5, is better suited to being a reliever.
"I can do whatever this club needs," Wright said. "It doesn't matter to me. I just want to get another opportunity."