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Sox fall field goal short
The fifth-starter dilemma continues to befuddle White Sox general manager Ken Williams, who watched his latest applicant-- left-hander Arnie Munoz--flop big-time in his major-league debut.
"I don't think that even in my nightmares I could come up with this," said Williams, who announced after Saturday night's 17-14 loss to the Montreal Expos that Munoz was being sent to Triple-A Charlotte and Jon Rauch was being recalled to help an overtaxed bullpen.
Williams said he is willing to give Rauch another chance after he was in the GM's doghouse for leaving the clubhouse early after his last stint with the Sox.
"Before I made the decision to bring him back, I consulted with the coaching staff and I consulted with his teammates," Williams said. "They agreed like me that none of us are beyond giving someone else a second chance."
Ozzie Guillen was asked before Saturday night's game if he and pitching coach Don Cooper would be calling some of the pitches from the dugout.
"No, we're not that good," said the first-year Sox manager.
Little did Guillen know that Munoz would be that bad.
The 5-foot-9-inch, 170-pound lefty was neither crafty nor beguiling. He was charged with 11 runs on 10 hits in three innings. He walked three, struck out one, hit a batter and threw two wild pitches.
Juan Rivera hit two home runs in the same inning, including a grand slam, as the Expos snapped a seven-game losing streak with the win at Olympic Stadium.
The 11 runs were the most allowed in a major-league debut since April 7, 1996, when Mike Busby of St. Louis gave up 13 runs at Atlanta.
White Sox pitchers performing in the fifth-starter slot this season are 0-8 with an 11.97 earned-run average.
The Sox trailed 11-1 after three innings. Juan Uribe's career-high seven RBIs helped keep the Sox within a field goal. He became the first White Sox player to drive in seven runs since Joe Crede on Aug. 27, 2002. The club record is eight, shared by five players. Robin Ventura was the last to knock in eight runs on Sept. 4, 1995, at Texas.
Guillen hoped the Sox would provide enough run support to make Munoz feel more at ease on the mound. Problem was, they scored 13 of their 14 runs after Munoz was sent to the showers.
The Expos' nine-run second inning saw 12 Montreal players come to bat. Rivera hit two home runs and drove in six runs. Munoz walked three batters, threw two wild pitches and hit a batter.
With two homers in the same inning, Rivera joined Mike Lansing, Andre Dawson (twice) and John Boccabella in the Expos record book.
Recalled from Double-A Birmingham after reliever Billy Koch was traded to Florida, Munoz had 68 strikeouts in 13 starts with the Barons.
Guillen was hoping Munoz could succeed where Felix Diaz, Dan Wright, Neal Cotts and Rauch had failed in the fifth-starter role.
In addition to the pitching woes, third baseman Crede was having his left hand X-rayed after being hit by a pitch in the seventh inning. Left-handed pitcher Vic Darensbourg (3-3, 2.64 ERA) is being flown to Montreal from Charlotte in case he needs to be activated for Sunday's game.
"There might be a little shuffling in the next few days until we get it right," Williams said.
Reliever Jon Adkins was unavailable Saturday night because of a problem with an oblique muscle.