Calling all Sox fans off the ledge. We've got a game to watch. The Sox try to take the rubber match of this series with the Minnesota Twins after losing in about the toughest possible manner in Game 1 and then hanging on in the ninth last night to even the series.
Yes, the Sox's lead over the Cleveland Indians has shrunk to eight games, but you've got to think this recent slide is a mere aberration rather than a harbinger of things to come as the doom-and-gloom crowd would have you believe. Scott Podsednik, the little engine that powers the offense will be back next week, reports of Mark Buehrle's demise clearly were premature and Jon Garland, who has a two-game losing streak, goes for his 17th win today. That would tie him with Bartolo Colon for the AL lead.
The Twins counter with Carlos Silva, 2-3 with a 5.22 ERA in eight career starts versus the Sox.
Baseball soon. Here are the lineups.
Timo Perez flies out to Michael Cuddyer in right field for the game's first out. Juan Uribe, whom Comcast just showed having a conversation with this bat before the game, breaks said bat and fetches another one. After a lengthy and aggressive at-bat, Uribe can't hold up on a breaking ball and strikes out with a check swing. Carl Everret digs in fresh off his huge game last night. Everret, batting left-handed against the righty Silva, fists a two-strike pitch the other way for a bloop single. Silva jams Paul Konerko, who sends a little bloop back to the mound that the pitcher catches. Nothing doing in the first for the Sox. Chiburb, thanks for the heads up on Podsednik. I fixed it.
Lew Ford leads off for the Twins and grounds weakly to Joe Crede at third. One out. Nick Punto grounds out to Uribe. Two outs. Joe Mauer grounds to Crede and that's three outs. Garland is perfect through one inning.
Former Twinkie A.J. Pierzynski starts things off for the Sox in the second and grounds to short. Meanwhile, the Twins are wearing some sort of clown outfit: alternate blue top with red hats. To this untrained fashion eye, that's a little busy. Jermaine Dye singles to right. Also, what's up with the Twins' lineup? Terry Tiffee? Rowand chases an inside pitch and the ball gets a piece of the bat and his hand. Foul ball. He gets plunked in the elbow by the next pitch and is not happy about it. Silva certainly isn't afraid to throw inside. Rowand got hit there last night and took a beating in that at-bat. Geoff Blum sends one up the middle and shortstop Jason Bartlett ranges far behind second to make the play and throw out Blum at first. Dye and Rowand move up. Crede chops one to Punto at second for the third out, stranding the two runners.
Justin Morneau lines a foul ball into the Twins' dugout and it nearly gets a piece of the aforementioned Tiffee. Morneau grounds a change-up to Blum at second. Where's the Gooch? Garland fans Matthew LeCroy. Michael Ryan lines a two-out single to right for the Twins' first hit. Michael Cuddyer rips a single back through the box. Ryan thought about making the turn but holds at second. It's Tiffee time. Tiffee singles to left, Perez comes up throwing and nails Ryan at the plate to end the inning. DJ pretty much called that one when Ryan failed to get to third on Cuddyer's hit. "Well, this gives a chance for one of the outfielders to throw someone out at the plate," he said.
Perez opens the third with a single following his nice defensive play, which was really close at the plate. Pierzynski may have blocked the plate with his foot. Uribe lays down a swinging bunt and it's just as good as a regular bunt because it moves Perez to second. Everett singles to left but it's hit too hard for Perez to score. Konerko lines a single to center, scoring Perez. Everett stops at second. Pierzynski flies out to left. Dye flies out to right but the Sox take the lead.
White Sox 1, Twins 0
Bartlett grounds out to Crede and Ford to Blum. Two quick outs for Garland. Punto grounds a two-out single to center but Mauer grounds out to Uribe, who steps one second to end the inning.
Rowand grounds out and Blum flies out. Silva throws a lot of strikes and lets the batters hit 'em. Crede flies out to right and Silva has a quick inning himself.
Morneau pops out to third for a quick first out. LeCroy draws the game's first walk. LeCroy takes off for second and Ryan lines one off Garland and everyone's safe. The trainers check on Garland but he stays in the game. Cuddyer looks at a fastball on the outside corner for strike three. Big strike out there on a seriously nice pitch. Garland occasionally is shaking his left wrist. I think that's where that line drive got him. Tiffee works the count full before lining one the other way ... that lands just foul. Tiffee pops up the next pitch and Crede squeezes it. Garland pitches out of the mini-jam.
Perez grounds out to short for the first out of the fifth. Uribe pops out, bringing up Everett with two outs and the bases empty. Everett flies out to left and that does it for the Sox's half.
Bartlett pops one down the first-base line. Konerko gives chase but it's just out of his reach. Foul ball. Bartlett chases a breaking ball away for strike three. Ford bounces one to Uribe, who takes this opportunity to show off his arm. Punto grounds out to Blum, ending another easy inning for Garland. Though, he's probably thown a lot of pitches. But you can't have everything.
Konerko pops out. When Ditka was skating around Halas Hall on his roller blades after making the famous "rollerdome" comments, did he did he not have a cigar in his mouth? I can't remember. I do remember he couldn't skate very well. Pierzynski grounds out. Dye rips a double down the first-field line, coasts into second and nearly was nailed by Cuddyer. He was oblivious of the throw. In fact, he may have been out. Aramis Ramirez-esque move there by Dye. Rowand, wearing Barry Bonds' elbow pad, flies out to Cuddyer, who makes a minor adventure of it but squeezes it for the third out.
Mauer flies out to left. Morneau beats out an infield single that Blum made a nice play on but had no chance with the throw. LeCroy, who's got to be related to Matt Stairs, fouls off a ton of pitches. Big, fleshy Bobby Jenks is up in the Sox's pen. Morneau takes off, LeCroy stikes out and Pierzynski throws out Morneau. The ol' strike 'em out, throw 'em out.
Ah....sweet coffee eases the pain. For a change there was actually some made. Usually the webmonkeys just kill it and don't refill it, which is a crime that should be punishable by caning. Blum lines one hard to right but right at Cuddyer. Crede and Perez are retired in order by Silva and we stretch, optional, of course.
Garland remains and Cuddyer rips a one-hopper that Konerko handles all himself. Tiffee flies out to center. I really don't get the people who complain about the score not being posted every half an inning. It's 1-0, people! Scroll up the page and you'll see it. Not that difficult. Tiffee and Bartlett go down in order.
For the forgetful and mouse-challenged: White Sox 1, Twins 0
Juan Rincon is the Twins' new pitcher and he fans Uribe with a slider away. Everett works the count full before striking out. Yes, joemn, last inning was Ryan, Cuddyer and the immortal Terry Tiffee. My fault. I was too worried about posting the score. Konerko pops out and Rincon makes quick work of the Sox in the Eighth.
So here's Bartlett, who did not, as I erroneously wrote, end the seventh, to start the eighth. Garland remains and Bartlett flies out to a running Perez in left for a quick first out. Garland fans Ford and Ozzie goes and gets him. Comcast goes and gets some more commercials. And, yes, Rincon was busted for steroids. Man, I'm losing it. Missed an easy opportunity there. Much to the dismay of the message-board mob, Damaso Marte comes on to pitch. Take that! He fans Punto looking and sprints off the mound like he was worried the umpire might change his mind. And we go to the ninth.
Score: Still 1-nil Sox
Some message board matters: Chiburb, point taken about the score. The Gooch, no, I missed the "Go Gooch" sign. It wasn't Gary Coleman holding it up, was it? And, IWC, what's a gallon of milk cost, $2? Cheaper than gas, I guess. But I wouldn't drink a gallon of gas either. Pierzynski hits one deep to right, Hawk implores it to "stretch!" but it doesn't "stretch!" enough and Cuddyer makes a nice leaping catch against the baggie. Dye grounds out. Rowand, who's elbow pad keeps growing, lines out to Tiffster at third and we go to the bottom of the ninth. Buckle up.
For those of you wondering why drinking a gallon of milk in a hour is hard to do, Jeff on the message board pretty much sums that up, in mildly graphic fashion. Marte remains to face Mauer, Morneau and LeCroy, which sounds a bit like the Montreal Canadiens' front line. Mauer rips it back through the box and Marte spears it. Wow. That was bang, bang. Great grab by Marte. Morneau walks and Ozzie yanks Marte for Dustin Hermanson. LeCroy looks like a walking double play. But Hermanson goes to 3-1 on him. LeCroy, the bizarro Matt Stairs, bounces one foul and the count goes full. Popped it up. Uribe gloves it for the second out. Luis Rodriguez comes on to run for Morneau. Ryan is the batter. Ryan rips it off Konerko's glove, the ball bounces into foul ground, nobody's giving chase. Konerko is lying on the ground. Rodriguez is rounding the bases and Konerko drops the relay throw. Rodriguez scores to tie the game. That ball was foul initially and Hawk is losing it. Gotta see another replay on that. It's hard to tell. But if Konerko catches the relay, Rodriguez is nailed at the plate. OK, tie game. The walks comes back to bite the Sox. Hermanson fans Cuddyer and we go to extras. That was a tough, bizarre sequence for the Sox right there.
White Sox 1, Twins 1
Konerko argued with the umps on that strange play, saying he touched the ball in foul territory. I'ts hard to tell on the replay. Anway, gott to move on. Jesse Crain is pitcher for the Twins and Blum greets him with a double to deep right-center. Crede squares to bunt and the ball nearly hits his top hand. It's ruled a foul ball. Crede leaves with an injury. Pablo Ozuna comes on and the same thing happens. He squares to bunt and Crain throws it up and in and it glances off the bat. Ozuna gets the bunt down, Crain fields it and Blum it out by a mile but Rodriguez makes a phantom tag and Blum is safe. Wow. Blum slid short, the tag went down missed everything and Blum stepped on the bag. Perez lines a single to left, scoring Blum. Ozuna stops at second. Still no outs. Uribe gets the bunt down, again Crain goes to third again and this time the runner is out. Didn't have to tag him there, but the throw was nearly wild. Runners on first and second with one out for Everett. Everett flies out to right and the runners can't advance. Konerko fans, but the Sox pick up a run.
Sox 2, Twins 1
Blum moves over to play third, Ozuna takes his spot at second and the fleshy, big-boned, hard-throwing Bobby Jenks is the new pitcher. Tiffee, 1-for-3, leads off the 10th. Tiffee hits a soft liner to short for the first out. Bartlett works the count full after fouling off a number of fastballs and finally goes down swinging chasing a breaking ball away. Quote of the day so far from Hawk: "That took some stones right there from A.J." Can you say that on TV? Can I repeat that? Jenks carves up Ford and this one's over.
Final: Sox 2, Twins 1
Well, that was interesting. But the Sox come back and win after a strange ninth. Garland takes a no decision after another great performance by a Sox starter. Jenks gets it done. That's it. I'm out. Thanks everyone for reading, e-mailing, posting, ranting, fretting. Stay off the milk.