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Phillies rock Sox, Garland
Major League Baseball doesn't keep records on stuff such as this, but it's safe to say that in the last 10 or 20 years, very few starting pitchers have given up seven runs, five hits, three walks and a wild pitch in one inning and come out to pitch the next one.
But as baseball people are fond of saying, every day you see something you've never seen before.
That was the case Wednesday night as White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen stuck with Jon Garland despite his disastrous fourth inning in a 13-10 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I was [surprised], to tell you the truth," Garland said.
To show his appreciation for the vote of confidence, if that's what it was, Garland proceeded to walk the first hitter he faced in the fifth and then give up a two-run home run to Jim Thome before Guillen yanked him.
Garland came into the game with a 3.79 ERA and left with a 4.72.
Guillen has shown an incredible amount of faith and patience in his starting pitchers, particularly Garland, but he outdid himself Wednesday night.
"That showed me a lot," Garland said. "I respect that out of Ozzie."
With the Sox leading 2-1 on solo home runs by Paul Konerko and Jose Valentin, Garland had allowed just two hits--including a Bobby Abreu home run--through three innings.
But Placido Polanco led off the fourth with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. Abreu then hit his second home run to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. After Garland got Thome to ground out, Pat Burrell singled and Ricky Ledee walked.
David Bell's flyout was the second out, but Mike Lieberthal walked to load the bases, Marlon Byrd singled home a run and Jimmy Rollins walked to force in another.
"I couldn't hit a spot all night," Garland said. "They didn't miss. Major-league hitters, they're not going to miss. They get their chance and they take advantage of it."
At that point, with four runs in and the bases still loaded, Neal Cotts began throwing in the bullpen. But Cotts wasn't nearly ready, and Polanco cleared the bases with a single, all three runs scoring when Polanco got in a rundown and second baseman Juan Uribe didn't throw to the plate to try to get Rollins.
With the final out, Cotts sat down. In the Sox's fourth, Aaron Rowand homered and, after Joe Crede walked, Miguel Olivo homered. The Sox's fourth of the night and 10th in the last two games pulled the Sox within 8-5.
Then Guillen let Garland, who was coming off a pair of gems against Anaheim and Seattle, come out for the fifth inning. Soon, the mountain got higher.
"[Garland] didn't have anything today, he couldn't throw a strike," Guillen said. "The way we used the bullpen lately, I was hoping he could throw another inning and then come out."
Jon Adkins, perhaps in a dress rehearsal for a start Saturday, finally came in for Garland, followed by Cotts and then Billy Koch. Koch was greeted by boos upon entering the game and again after giving up an RBI single, and RBI double and a sacrifice fly to extend the Phillies' lead to 13-6 in the seventh.
It's safe to say Koch didn't put himself back on track to assume the closer's job after allowing two inherited runners to score, a run of his own and two hits in two-thirds of an inning in the seventh.
"I thought he threw the ball very well," Guillen said.
Meanwhile, Shingo Takatsu, who does nothing except get people out and make it look easy, ran his scoreless-innings streak to 19 1/3 and now has retired 16 batters in a row.
The Sox staged a rally in the ninth, scoring four runs off Phillies closer Billy Wagner in his first outing since coming off the disabled list. Included was a two-run homer by Crede.
The 11 homers in back-to-back games set a club record, and the 17 for both teams was a record for consecutive games at U.S. Cellular.
Wednesday also may end up being a turning point in the season. Minnesota beat the Mets to move into a first-place tie with the Sox in the Central Division, the first time the Sox haven't had sole possession of first place since May 26.