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Breaking out the good stuff
A deep look into the future is bringing pleasant results for the White Sox.
That's an encouraging development for a team that wants to incorporate young pitching and speed as it tries to catch the elite teams in the American League Central.
Gavin Floyd likely has pitched himself into the rotation for at least another start by resurrecting the curveball that general manager Ken Williams fell in love with while scouting him in the Arizona Fall League, before acquiring him from the Phillies.
Floyd's six shutout innings, plus the progress of rookies Danny Richar, Jerry Owens and Josh Fields, helped the Sox extend their winning streak to four games with a 3-1 victory Sunday that capped a three-game sweep of the defending league champions.
"The way [Floyd] pitched, we should give him another start," manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Guillen said he would decide Tuesday whether the Sox would opt for a six-man rotation and settle the status of Jose Contreras, who warmed up in the bullpen Sunday.
It was the Sox's first series sweep since they took four straight June 25-28 at Tampa Bay, but this one had more meaning.
Floyd, who was tagged for 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings July 24 against Detroit, pitched knowing he needed an impressive outing to have any shot of getting an immediate look as a starter. Floyd threw his big-breaking curve on different counts and kept the Tigers off balance.
He credited his change from an overhand release to a more compact delivery for his six strikeouts and no walks.
"I simplified things," said Floyd, who lost the final spot in the rotation in the spring to John Danks after the Sox acquired him in a deal for 17-game winner Freddy Garcia.
Floyd held the Tigers hitless four times with runners in scoring position, including inducing Ryan Raburn into grounding out on play in which shortstop Juan Uribe made a diving stop and pumped his fist after throwing to first for the final out of the sixth.
"The arm is there," Guillen said of Floyd. "I think Kenny [and the scouts] saw more than I did."
Richar, meanwhile, continues to play second base with the confidence of a veteran since his promotion from Triple-A Charlotte 10 days ago.
One pitch after yanking a foul ball near the right-field foul pole, Richar ripped a triple to right-center in the third. He also drew a walk in the fifth and scored from first on Owens' double.
Guillen is extremely pleased that Richar has struck out only once in 21 at-bats and that he rarely has swung at bad pitches.
"I like when all his at-bats count," Guillen said. "All his at-bats are good at-bats. That's why I told ... Fields, Brian [Anderson], [Ryan] Sweeney, all those guys, 'I don't want you to hit .350.
"Well, I wish you could, [but] I just want you guys to give me better at-bats.' And that's what I told all my players. Get good at-bats. Give yourself a chance to do it.
"And they do it right now. Fields is doing it, Owens is doing it and Richar's doing it. It's good to watch when those guys don't give up outs and it's like 'whatever happens, happens.'
"I think those guys have had good at-bats, and I'm really excited about those kids. The results, I don't know. But the at-bats, you can handle good at-bats."
Fields hit an RBI double in the second inning that gave the Sox a 1-0 lead. The usually mild-mannered Fields glared at Tigers starter Jordan Tata after getting hit by a pitch in his next at-bat.
The plunking came one inning after Floyd hit Sean Casey in the left elbow. Casey left the game because of a bruise.