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With 37 come-from-behind victories and 35 one-run victories last season, you might think the White Sox had found every possible way to win a baseball game.
Nope. They discovered a new one in Wednesday night's 6-5, 11-inning victory over SeattlePablo Ozuna's first major-league home run after 1,333 at-bats.
Actually, Ozuna's pinch-hit, first-pitch, two-out, ninth-inning homer only made it possible to win, sending the game all the way to his next at-bat in the 11th when he hustled a single into a two-out double and scored on Juan Uribe's bloop single.
"This kid was almost out of baseball two years ago," Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I've known him for a long time. He plays the game one way, he hustles and plays hard."
And he obviously stays ready, with only 19 at-bats all season before his heroics brought back memories of the magic from last season.
"I was ready to go since the fourth inning," Ozuna said through an interpreter. "I knew they had a lot of lefties in the bullpen."
He left those Seattle lefties, closer Eddie Guardado and Jake Woods, with a blown save and a loss, respectively, making a winner of Bobby Jenks.
The victory extended the Sox's winning streak at U.S. Cellular Field to nine, much to the delight of 27,569 fans, many of whom were on their way out of the park when Ozuna socked the Sox's first pinch-hit homer since Frank Thomas' last June 8.
But Ozuna's double was more exciting, if not as dramatic. It came on a roller that scooted over second base, a single for most people, but "as soon as I hit it, the second baseman and center fielder were kind of lackadaisical, so I thought I would take a chance," he said.
His chance and Uribe's single ended a night so long that the early exploits of Freddy Garcia and Joe Crede were never forgotten.
Garcia seemed to rediscover himself with seven strong innings, leaving with a 4-1 lead thanks to Crede's grand slam in the seventh.
"That's the best game he's pitched this year," Guillen said. "The more games he pitches, the better he should get. He pitched the way I think he can pitch."
It wasn't until the fourth that Garcia ran into trouble. Leadoff hitter Jose Lopez was hit by a pitch, Raul Ibanez singled and the runners moved up a base when Richie Sexson dribbled a ball in front of home plate. Lopez scored on a sacrifice fly by former Sox Carl Everett.
Garcia faced the minimum for the next three innings. By then he had the 4-1 lead, thanks to Crede. But relievers Matt Thornton and Cliff Politte gave it away in the seventh, the Mariners taking a 5-4 lead on Tadahito Iguchi's throwing error.
For a pitcher who had won four straight games, Garcia sure had been dissected physically and psychologically.
Pitching coach Don Cooper is the one who has had to answers questions about Garcia's health, strength and stamina all season.
"Freddy knows how to win,," Cooper said. "He's been the same since he's been here. Check his record (27-13 for the Sox). He knows how to win; 2-1 or 10-9, all that matters is he finds a way to win a game."
And he and his Sox teammates found a new way to win one Wednesday.