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Contrary to bad start, a Sox victory
The White Sox persevered Wednesday night under nasty conditions.
Despite a three-run deficit, Jose Contreras' early control problems and A.J. Pierzynski's two mistakes in blustery conditions, the Sox weaved their way to a 5-4 victory over the Indians in 10 innings.
The Sox's 6-2 start equals their best since 1991. The win also represented their third comeback victory.
It was completed with Dustin Hermanson closing rather than Shingo Takatsu, whom manager Ozzie Guillen kept away from the Cleveland left-handed hitters who have punished him.
"Shingo is still my closer," Guillen said. "It was a gut feeling. I look at their [lineup], and Coco Crisp has hit .600 against [Takatsu]. That's the leadoff guy. I don't want him on base. Shingo is going to be my closer, but we did what we needed to do to get it done."
Hermanson retired Crisp on a fly ball to start the bottom of the 10th en route to his first Sox save.
The comeback was a resourceful effort, starting with Contreras' recovery from control problems that led to a 3-0 deficit after two innings.
With encouragement from Guillen, Pierzynski and fellow Cuban Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, Contreras threw mostly fastballs that kept the Indians from scoring again until Grady Sizemore hit a game-tying home run with two outs in the seventh.
"He threw a lot more fastballs than ever I've seen," Guillen said. "He did what he could to survive. Sometimes you have to play the elements, and the wind was blowing in from right."
The conditions were so miserable that designated hitter Carl Everett, who extended his hitting streak to seven games with an RBI single in the fourth, wore a sweatshirt while warming up in the on-deck circle and base coaches Tim Raines and Joey Cora wore batting gloves.
Contreras didn't lose his composure, even after five walks in the first four innings and a passed ball by Pierzynski that gave the Indians a 1-0 lead in the first.
Pierzynski also dropped a throw at home plate in the second that allowed Jhonny Peralta to score and increased Cleveland's lead to 3-0.
But the Sox rallied to tie the game with three runs in the fourth, and Hernandez kept Contreras focused in the dugout with advice.
"It helps a lot," Contreras said with Cora interpreting. "Sometimes I get lost. Even though everyone helps, El Duque knows me from 12 years ago in Cuba, so he knows what I'm all about and can help me the most."
Contreras also received help from Pablo Ozuna, who made the most of his third straight start with a bunt single that ignited the three-run fourth, and Aaron Rowand, who capped the rally with an RBI single.
Sizemore's homer on Contreras' 104th pitch deprived him of the victory, but his teammates carried him the rest of the way.
Damaso Marte struck out all three batters he faced. Luis Vizcaino pitched 11/3 perfect innings and got the victory.
Pierzynski, however, gained the biggest measure of revenge. After dropping Ozuna's throw from left field, he became the target of several spirited Indians fans who sarcastically chanted his initials.
In the 10th, Pierzynski led off with a double, then caught a break when he eluded Aaron Boone's tag on a fielder's choice at third. Juan Uribe followed with a sacrifice fly to score Pierzynski with the winning run.