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Texas' 2-baggers sink Sox
Sometimes, home runs just aren't enough.
The White Sox hit three home runs Tuesday night, but the Texas Rangers doubled them to death in a 6-4 loss.
The Sox split the two-game series with the American League West Division-leading Rangers and fell to 2-4 on this eight-game trip.
More importantly, though, the Sox fell out of first place in the Central Division for the first time since July 10. The Minnesota Twins, who beat the Detroit Tigers 5-4 in 10 innings, moved a half-game in front of the Sox.
The next three weeks will go a long way toward determining the Central Division winner. Beginning Wednesday in Cleveland, the Sox will play 22 straight games against division opponents.
The Twins will be in Chicago for a three-game series beginning Monday.
"It gives us a chance to gain some ground, or lose some ground," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We have the team to compete."
Texas catcher Rod Barajas had a career-high three doubles Tuesday, including one in the eighth that snapped a 4-4 tie.
Damaso Marte got the loss. He came in with the game tied in the eighth after the Sox had rallied from a three-run deficit.
Marte struggled from the start, however, walking pinch-hitter Chad Allen to start the inning. Mark Teixeira then singled and Laynce Nix put down his first sacrifice bunt of the season to move the runners to second and third.
"You have to come in from the bullpen and try to throw strikes," Guillen said.
Marte walked Gary Matthews Jr. intentionally to load the bases and bring up Barajas, who lined one down the first-base line that scored Allen and Teixeira.
"Chad Allen's at-bat was huge," Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said of the leadoff walk.
The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead off starter Jon Garland in the second inning when Nix singled and Matthews followed with a two-run home run.
Doubles by Alfonso Soriano and Teixeira increased the lead to 3-0 after three.
Rangers starting pitcher John Wasdin came into Tuesday's game with a 7.33 ERA in six appearances but looked brilliant through the first six innings, limiting the Sox to just a Carlos Lee home run in the fourth inning.
"It's kind of weird," Guillen said of his off-and-on offense. "You have to give credit to [Wasdin], he threw the ball well."
For Lee, it was his 14th home run of the season and his seventh in July. Lee's career high for home runs in a month came last July when he hit eight.
The power display came after Lee hit just two home runs combined in May and June.
Not surprisingly, the Sox got back into the game with home runs.
Wasdin was cruising along until the seventh, when he gave up a leadoff single to Carl Everett and then a two-run homer to Konerko to pull the Sox to a 4-3 deficit.
Jose Valentin, who struck out his first three trips to the plate, tied the game 4-4 with a leadoff home run in the eighth off Frank Francisco.
It looked like the Sox were going to jump out in front when Lee followed with a double and Everett walked, bringing up Konerko.
This time, however, Konerko hit into a double play, and Ross Gload struck out to end the inning.
"One second you're feeling good and the next you feel like you let everyone down," Konerko said.
Despite the loss, Konerko said it was a good sign the Sox's offense came to life.
"We've had a lot of games like this," he said. "It's nice to see us come back and make a game of it."
Now the pressure cooker gets turned up.
The Indians have been wearing out pitching staffs and they will have two of their top pitchers on the mound for the two-game series that begins Wednesday at Jacobs Field.
Then the Sox return home to see the new-look Detroit Tigers for a three-game series before the Twins come to town.
So far this season, the Sox are 16-8 against the Central Division.
"I wish I could say we're going to run away with it," Konerko said. "Cleveland and Detroit are right there. Not one team in this division is out of it."