Juan for the Books
Last night ‘s White Sox homecoming was full of both oddities and familiarities as the Sox defeated the Tigers, 6-4, to move within two and a half games of second-place Detroit and seven behind the division-leading Tribe.
The oddities: Juan Pierre homered for the first time this season. Adam Dunn reached on an infield hit, his first off of a lefty. The Sox failed to score twice with the bases loaded and once with men on second and third with no outs. The South Siders broke a nine-game losing streak against the Tigers and in the process won their fourth consecutive game for the first time in 2011. Not to mention that Paul Konerko sat out the game after undergoing a procedure on his wrist.
The familiar: Carlos Quentin smashed a three-run homer, his 14th, to give the Sox a 4-0 lead. Red-hot Brent Lillibridge slammed a solo shot, his seventh. “Money” closer Sergio Santos‘s four-out save, his 10th in 11 tries, ended with a strikeout of the always dangerous Miguel Cabrera. Brent Morel made three sensational plays at third, reminiscent of Joe Crede. Mark Buehrle delivered another quality start, winning his fifth of the season. Also very familiar were Alex Rios‘s continuing struggles at the plate and Matt Thornton‘s less-than-effective appearance as a set-up man.
Amid all of that, it was Pierre that emerged as the primary hero. It was his great catch against the wall off the bat of catcher Alex Avila with the bases loaded in the eighth that saved the Sox from losing the lead. Moments later, in the bottom of the inning, his homer gave the Sox some breathing room heading into the ninth. In all, he reached base four times (homer, two walks, one HBP) with three runs scored.
I would be remiss if I didn’t congratulate Dunn (half-kidding here). He took a baby step toward respectability as he beat out that ground ball to halt his hitless streak against lefthanders.
Gratuitous photo of the day: Actress Minnie Driver throws out the ceremonial first pitch last night at the Cell.