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White Sox sweep doubleheader from Tigers
With the July 31 trade deadline approaching rapidly, White Sox veterans provided the talent and poise Tuesday for a day-night doubleheader sweep of American League Central leader Detroit that snapped a four-game losing streak.
Javier Vazquez's eight innings of four-hit pitching and Paul Konerko's two-run home run paved the way for a 5-3 victory in the first game, and the Sox overcame a six-run deficit behind timely hitting to seize an 8-7 victory in the nightcap.
"It shows that we're not quitting, even though the season is kind of gloomy right now," said Rob Mackowiak, who after missing a fly ball in the first game redeemed himself by hitting a home run and starting the winning rally with a double in the eighth inning of the second game.
Scott Podsednik hit a game-tying single in the seventh inning of Game 2 and scored the winning run on A.J. Pierzynski's single that skipped past shortstop Carlos Guillen with two out in the eighth.
Jim Thome's three-run homer had cut the Sox's deficit to 7-6 in the seventh.
"It's the part of the year that you hear your name out there," Vazquez said of trade rumors. "For me, it has been a lot of years I've been hearing my name around this time. I don't give it any importance. I don't read about it."
Vazquez (8-5) has emerged as the Sox's most dominant pitcher lately. He's 5-0 with a 2.60 ERA in his last seven starts and he struck out eight or more for the sixth time this season.
With a contract that runs through 2010, an injury-free history and a limited no-trade clause, Vazquez arguably is too valuable for the Sox (45-55) to trade.
Seattle and the New York Yankees have taken a longer look at Jon Garland, who is under contract only through 2008.
"Everyone knows it," Vazquez said of his wish to stay with the Sox. "[General manager] Kenny Williams knows it, [manager] Ozzie Guillen knows it. For me, it's a non-issue."
Guillen said the Sox's staff had a meeting Tuesday morning and "There's nothing out there" in the form of a trade.
"If we continue to play [badly], definitely something has to be done," Guillen said. "But there's nothing out there.
"It's not what the people think about trades—players, fans, baseball in general. There's nothing there.
"Talk? Of course there's a lot of talk because every general manager—seller or buyer—has been involved in trades.
"But there's nothing legit for any ballclub to figure. Maybe they have something real quiet. Not us, but maybe another team in baseball has something real quiet.
"With us, there's nothing out there anytime soon."
That hasn't stopped teams from sending several scouts to watch the Sox this week. In fact, the Sox and Yankees were evaluating each other's organizational talent.
According to an industry source, the Los Angeles Angels inquired about Konerko.
But trading him seems unlikely, considering the Sox have yet to decide whether to trade right fielder Jermaine Dye, who can become a free agent at the end of this season.
Guillen and Williams have insisted the Sox will field a competitive team in 2008 and not opt to rebuild.Sox catcher Toby Hall had to leave in the sixth inning of the second game after being struck accidentally on the left side of his head by a back swing from Carlos Guillen.
X-rays and neurological tests were negative, and Hall was diagnosed with a mild concussion.
He will start Wednesday night, Guillen said.
Gavin Floyd was roughed up for 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings of Game 1, but five Sox relievers combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings.
Bobby Jenks earned a save in each game.