Yet another Sox cardiac comeback

Chicago White SoxPablo OzunaU.S. Cellular FieldJose ContrerasOzzie GuillenPaul Konerko

With this White Sox team, it's a good idea to come early and stay late.

The Sox have outscored opponents 53-28 in the first inning and 57-42 in the eighth and ninth innings.

For the second straight night, they chose the late-inning method of excitement.

They beat the Dodgers by scoring twice in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 4-3 victory Sunday night, their 21st come-from-behind victory and 11th in their final time up.

"I don't want to say we're good," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We're good enough to win games."

And win they did. Again.

With the victory, the Sox—on a pace to win 110 games—increased their lead over Minnesota in the American League Central to 7 1/2 games, the second-biggest margin next to St. Louis' 9 1/2-game lead over the Cubs.

They also completed their fifth three-game sweep of the season, with Kansas City coming to U.S. Cellular Field for three games starting Monday. The Sox already have swept the Royals twice this season.

This latest sweep was bad for those with pacemakers or who left the park early.

For the second straight night, Aaron Rowand was one of the heroes. On Saturday, he tied the game in the ninth inning with an RBI single. Sunday, he put the Sox ahead in the eighth with a two-run single.

And for the second straight night, reliever Cliff Politte (5-0) was the winner.

"We've got 25 guys who don't quit and are pulling on the same end of the rope," Rowand said. "The feeling in the clubhouse and dugout is that if we're down, we have a chance to come back."

The rally started with pinch-hitter Frank Thomas, who received a long and loud standing ovation from the 27,350 fans, drawing a walk. Pablo Ozuna pinch-ran and got to second base when Scott Podsednik's sacrifice bunt was thrown wide of first by catcher Jason Phillips.

Willie Harris then sacrificed the runners to second and third before Rowand's sharp single to left scored both of them.

Dustin Hermanson pitched the ninth inning for his 16th save.

"We execute real well and we get a lot of clutch hits," Guillen said of his team's late-inning success. "We haven't missed many executions all year. Willie's bunt was a big play. We aren't making as many mistakes as we did in the past."

"You see other teams make mistakes late in games because they have to rush," Rowand said of the Sox's speed.

The Sox of late have hung around long enough to have one rally win it.

"That's what you do when you pitch well," Guillen said.

Sox starter Jose Contreras lasted 6 2/3 innings and left with a 3-2 deficit. The Sox haven't scored more than three runs while he has been in the game in his last 12 starts.

"It seems like Contreras, we don't do anything for him when he pitches," Guillen said.

The enigmatic Contreras worked himself into and out of jams all evening, leaving two runners on in the second inning, then allowing one run and escaping further damage with a double play in third and giving up two runs in the fifth for a 3-0 deficit.

Sox hitters finally got on the board with two runs in the sixth, although it took a little help from the Dodgers.

Podsednik singled and suddenly found himself on third base when Dodgers pitcher Jeff Weaver twisted his ankle and threw the ball into the stands while trying to pick Podsednik off base.

Harris followed with an RBI single and scooted to second when right fielder Jason Repko, just inserted for defense, bobbled the ball. Harris got to third on Rowand's long fly ball and scored on Paul Konerko's ground out.

"I wouldn't say our confidence is different this year, but our togetherness is," Rowand said. "The group we have in the clubhouse is the best we've ever had, hands down."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Comments
Loading