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Sox's speed thrills, chills
This is how rare the White Sox stinker was Saturday: It was only the second game all season in which they trailedat any timeby three runs.
And, yes, it was a stinker, as a restless, chilled 37,311 fansimpatient for their postgame fireworks showcan attest.
U.S. Cellular fans are not used to 9-6 losses, not after a seven-game home winning streak and victories in 13 of their first 16 games here.
"It's part of the game," Aaron Rowand said. "You're not going to win every night."
About the only positive fans could cheer, on a night when one Sox was thrown out at the plate and two others were caught in rundowns between third base and home, was a speed-filled night from leadoff man Scott Podsednik and A.J. Pierzynski's fourth homer.
Podsednik not only beat out his 10th and 11th infield hits of the season but he stole four bases, tying the White Sox record for one game and his own personal best. He also became the first major-leaguer since the A's Rickey Henderson in 1991 to steal four bases in a game twice in one seasonand this was only the 37th game of the season.
Despite the loss, the White Sox maintained a six-game lead over the Twins. And it's only mid-May. So you would think manager Ozzie Guillen has no worries, right?
"I worry about the players staying healthy, I worry about my players not getting their heads too big and saying they're good," Guillen said. "This thing can change in 10-to-20 days. You just have to play the game the way it should be played.
"I keep saying to the players: When you're in first place, when you're in the pennant race, every day is tougher all the way to the end. It's not easy. Every game gets tougher and harder and you have to prepare yourself physically and mentally. If we continue to do what we're doing, there's going to be more media and more attention and more complaints, more everything."
There also will be more nights like Saturday, when starter Freddy Garcia (3-3) gave up a season-high seven runs in six-plus innings, dropping the combined record of the starting rotation to 22-5.
"Freddy's problem is he's not going after the hitters, especially this team," Guillen said. "This team has great hitters."
The Sox scored three runs in the second inning and one more in the third to give Garcia a 5-2 lead, although he gave away the lead in the fourth inning. But the early runs did give the White Sox a lead in all 37 of their games, tying them for the third-longest streak in history.
The early advantage came with speed and some timely hitting.
Podsednik scored two of the first five runs. In the first inning, he chopped an infield single, stole two bases and scored on Rowand's ground out.
In the second he walked and scored the third run from first base when Tadahito Iguchi parachuted a blooper over first base. Juan Uribe also scored on that hit after he had knocked in Willie Harris (walk, stolen base) with a double.
Garcia couldn't hold that lead, though, giving up solo homers to B.J. Surhoff and Jay Gibbons in the fourth and then allowing another run on two more hits.
He was gone in the seventh when the Orioles tacked on four more runs, two of them charged to Garcia and the other two to Neal Cotts.
"When you're in first place, you just worry about winning games," Guillen said. "You don't have to worry about catching anybody. As long as you stay on the same page and win games, that's all you have to do."