Results tagged ‘ Juan Pierre ’

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.

The “Cojones Kids” Do it Again

castro-620.jpg55995248.jpgTime will tell whether or not the White Sox will overtake the Twins and go to the postseason. Regardless of the outcome, it’s been a treat to watch this team from the point in early June that they made their move.
These guys just won’t quit. Because of their extraordinary intestinal fortitude, maybe we should call them the Cojones Kids (please see a Spanish dictionary for details if you’re not familiar with the term).
On this road trip alone–where they now find themselves 6-0–there were a pair of late-inning three run-homers (A.J.Pierzynski and Paul Konerko) and a close-to-a-miracle 11th inning shot by Brent Lillibridge in Cleveland and the amazing comeback this afternoon in Boston. This, after the impressive doubleheader sweep yesterday.
Down 5-3 heading to the top of ninth today against the Red Sox’s Jonathan Papelbon, here’s what happened on a beautiful day in Beantown. Please note that all the scoring came after two were out.
--Omar Vizquel flied out to center.
Alex Rios walked.
Andruw Jones, batted for Konerko. With Jones at bat, Rios steals second. Jones called out on strikes.
Carlos Quentin doubled to center, Rios scored. Red Sox, 5-4. Brent Lillibridge ran for Quentin.
Ramon Castro singled to center, Lillibridge scored. Score tied at 5-5.
Alexei Ramirez walked, Castro to second.
Dustin Richardson replaced Papelbon for Boston.
Mark Teahen walked, Castro to third, A. Ramirez to second. Robert Manuel replaced Richardson.
Gordon Beckham walked, Teahen to second, A. Ramirez to third, Castro scored. White Sox lead 6-5.
Juan Pierre walked. A. Ramirez scored, Beckham to second, Teahen to third. Sox, 7-5.
–Vizquel lined out, making his second out of the inning.
And Matt Thornton, in his first appearance since coming off of the DL, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save as the Pale Hose remain 3 1/2 games behind the Twins, who finished the sweep at home vs. Texas.
What a day–and now on to Detroit for four.
The Quentin Factor: There were many heroes in today’s glorious comeback win. Count Quentin as one of the biggest ones, as he went 3 for 5 with a pair of RBIs including a key one during the ninth inning uprising. CQ is beginnning to heat up and that can mean only good things for the South Siders.
Note of the Day: The Good Guys were a huge threat on the basepaths today with a total of six stolen bases, paced by Rios whose three thefts gives him 32 on the season. Only Pierre, with a league-leading 54, has more this season in a White Sox uniform.
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Sox Make it Interesting, But Yankee Homers and Walks Just Too Much to Overcome

52963528.jpgIf the White Sox had any chance of beating C.C. Sabathia and the Yankees tonight, John Danks (above) needed to be on his game. Unfortunately for the South Siders he wasn’t, and the Sox found themselves on the losing end of a 12-9 decision. It also dropped them to 4 1/2 games behind the Twins, 1-0 winners over the Mariners this afternoon.
Giving up a trio of two-run home runs in the first three innings, Danks put the Hose in a hole in which they could never escape. Trailing 6-1, the Sox narrowed the margin to a single run on the strength of a Paul Konerko two-run homer in the third inning and a two-run Andruw Jones blast in the fourth, but Danks and Tony Pena opened the flood gates again in the fifth by combining to surrender a fatal four spot. The Yanks, who smashed a total of four homers, padded their lead with two more runs in the final four innings. The Good Guys, resilient to the end, threatened in the ninth and had the tying run at the plate, but it was just too little too late–especially when you’re facing Mariano Rivera.
It’ll be up to Gavin Floyd tomorrow afternoon on Frank Thomas Day to help get the Sox a series win before they head to Cleveland, Boston and Detroit.
Pale Hose Notes of Note: The Sox outhit the Yankees 16-14, but Chicago pitchers walked an unacceptable nine men–which really was responsible for turning the tide…Lucas Harrell, recently recalled from Charlotte, entered the game in the ninth after Carlos Torres loaded the bases with one out. He was impressive, striking out Derek Jeter and getting Nick Swisher to line out to Juan Pierre in left.
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Win or Lose, These Sox Keep Coming at You

55690296.jpgYou’ve no doubt heard all of the details about the circumstances behind last night’s split doubleheader between the White Sox and Royals in Kansas City:
* The  terrible decision to start the game on Friday when umpire Joe West was told a torrential downpour was on its way.
* The fact that Edwin Jackson lost his start and reliever Tony Pena (above) had to start Game 2.
* The Fox Sports edict that the first game had to start at 6:05 CT–with a day game on Sunday.
Those developments set the stage for an eight-hour marathon, which saw the Sox play two extra-inning games–a 6-5 defeat in Game 1 (11 innings) after they blew a 5-1 lead and a 7-6 victory in Game 2  (10 frames) after they came back after blowing a ninth-inning lead.
What can we take from what we saw last night?
–Although he loaded the bases that set the stage for Yuniesky Betancourt‘s game-tying grand slam in Game 1, Freddy Garcia did what he had to do in 6 2/3 innings.
–Bravo to Pena, who made his first start in years, and went seven strong innings in Game 2. Aside from a four-run fourth inning, he was stellar.
–He was the losing pitcher in Game 1, but No. 1 draft pick Chris Sale is a stud. He looked overpowering in his 1 2/3 innings of work. And it was Bobby Jenks who coughed up the winning run.
–Our bullpen has been awful. First it was Santos and Jenks in Game 1, then J.J. Putz blew his third consecutive save in the nightcap after striking out the first two after Scott Linebrink gave up a blast in the eighth. Miraculously, Putz shut the door in the bottom of the 10th.
–The Sox could have very well won Game 1 if Brent Lillibridge, running for Paul Konerko, hadn’t hesitated around second base in the 10th after Carlos Quentin’s gap double to right-center. It was inexcusable for him to be thrown out which would have been the lead run. Lilli needs to be a better fundamental player and avoid the brain freezes.
–In Game 2, Ramon Castro‘s two-run homer, Alex Rios‘s RBI single and Juan Pierre‘s clutch two-out double in the 10th to put the Sox ahead for good, saved the day.
The No. 1 takeaway is that for all of the problems the Sox have had in the past couple of weeks, they keep coming back. They could have packed it in after Game 1 and again after the Royals took the lead in Game 2, but they didn’t and kept fighting. Win or lose, that’s really the legacy of this team.
“To bounce back in the second game and play the way they did, what can be better than that,” Ozzie said in the wee small hours of the morning.
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                  Lillibridge’s blunder: The run that should have scored in Game 1



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Paulie, Buehrle & Friends Right the Ship

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All the frustration from two weeks of blown leads, walkoff homers and the loss of a division lead came to an abrupt halt last night as the White Sox exploded with the 11-0 victory over the Twins. 
When any team in this situation is badly in need of a win, they look to their leaders. The Sox are no exception and theirs came through big-time with a whole lot of help from the troops as The Good Guys hurled a shutout and pounded out 21 hits.
The leaders–three grizzled vets from the 2005 champs–rose to occasion in a huge way. Paul Konerko, enjoying a monster season, went 5 for 5 with his 31st homer and four RBI; Mark Buehrle pitched seven innings of scoreless, five-hit ball; and A.J. Pierzynski, struggling through an offensive season he’d like to forget, added two hits and two RBI. 
Adding to the barrage were three-hit nights from Juan Pierre, Omar VizquelAlexei Ramirez and Mark Teahen. And, by the way, check out these averages: Pierre is hovering around .280 while Vizquel and Ramirez are both in the .290 neighborhood. A far cry from earlier in the season.
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As I live and die with the Pale Hose on a daily basis, it’s always good to get a reality check from one of the guys in my Sox posse. Here’s some wisdom from Tim Clodjeaux, a former Sox PR guru:
“Keep in mind that this ‘meltdown’ is not as bad on paper as it has been to watch. Since the break the Sox are 17-17. Playing  .500 ball will not win you many pennants, but it is far from a collapse. It just looks bad because of the nine losses in 12 games prior to tonight–and the way we lost many of those nine. And the Twins, on the other hand, are now 24-9 since the break. So while the Sox have stumbled, the Twins have deservedly made their move to the top of the standings.”
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Danks Outduels King Felix as Sox Remain in First

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We knew that tonight’s game, with Felix Hernandez on the mound for the Mariners, would be a tough one for the White Sox to win. But we also know these 2010 Sox and their ability to bounce back from losses.
Last night John Danks led the way in the 6-1 dismantling of Seattle in the South Siders’ triumphant return home after the 4-6 road trip. Paul Konerko smashed his 22nd homer of the season and Juan Pierre (2), Omar Vizquel, Alexei Ramirez and A.J. Pierzynski added RBIs. Pierre and Ramirez had three hits apiece.
To me, when Danks is on his game there’s nobody I’d rather watch pitch– and he was certainly on tonight, hurling eight innings and allowing only six hits in winning his 11th contest of the season.
After the tough road swing, this was an awfully welcome win as the Sox hold on to their one-game division lead over the Twins. And beating King Felix made it even sweeter.
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First-Place South Siders Continue to Roll

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All eyes were on the White Sox last night. Could they come out of the break with same fire that saw them go 25-5 in the last 30 games? How would they do against the rival Twins as they aimed for their ninth victory in a row–this coming on the heels of the 11-game winning streak?
Aside from a six-run Twins uprising in the second off of John Danks, which saw Minny take the lead after the Sox scored four in the first two frames, it was all good as the Sox held on in the 8-7 squeaker to increase their division lead to a full game over the Tigers.
There was no lack of positive signs. The gutty Danks bounced back to go six innings after giving up six runs in the second, Juan Pierre went 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored, four players (Omar Vizquel, Alex Rios, Mark Kotsay and Gordon Beckham) pounded out a pair of hits each with Beckham and Rios both going 2 for 3 with two RBIs apiece. And GBeck added a long second-inning homer.
Additionally, the pen did what they had to do with three clutch two-out strikeouts to end Twins rallies–Matt Thornton (Jason Kubel) in the seventh, Bobby Jenks (Orlando Hudson) and Jenks (Jim Thome) to end the game in the ninth.
With  a lot of heroes to choose from, the best part of last night for me was the continuing emergence of Beckham as the same guy we saw in 2009. His bat is perking up, his power is back, he’s been sparkling in the field and his average is up to .221 and climbing. That average might not seem like much, but it’s a big improvement from where it’s been in the early going.
Many folks agree that Beckham is the key to the Sox offense. I’m one of them. His presence in the lineup was enormous last year and adding a vintage GBeck to Rios, Paul KonerkoCarlos Quentin and the rest can only mean good things for The Good Guys.
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There’s Nothing Like a Suicide Squeeze to Lift the Spirits as the White Sox Make Positive Strides

54351342.jpgTime will tell whether or not the White Sox are legitimate contenders to catch and surpass the Twins–or the Tigers for that matter.
But we’re all adults here (most of us anyway) and we can face the reality of not making the postseason. After all, except for nine seasons (1906, 1917, 1919, 1959, 1983, 1993, 2000, 2005, 2008) in the club’s long history we’ve failed to accomplish it.
What I’m saying is that as Sox fans what we really want is something to root for–and the team’s performance in the early going has made it tough. But if the South Siders play an aggressive, exciting brand of ball with more wins than losses we’ll deal with it. We won’t be totally happy because in the past few years expectations have risen, but it’ll be OK and the summer won’t be ruined. Nothing’s worse than a summer without having fun rooting for your favorite team.
The good news is that contender or not the Sox are playing better, having won six of eight including last night’s 6-4 victory over the Pirates. And the best parts of the contest? Gordon Beckham looked like the 2009 Beckham with two hits and three RBI and the starting pitching continued its comeback. And the Juan Pierre-Beckham suicide squeeze (see picture above) was a real bonus.
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White Sox Should Be Happy With Series Victory Despite Loss in Lilly’s Juan-Hitter

mlbf_8995367_th_13.jpgOf course White Sox fans would have loved a sweep at Wrigley, extend the club’s winning streak to five and to have gained a game on the Twins. But in light of last night’s developments, I’m just happy that Juan Pierre foiled Ted Lilly‘s no-no in the ninth so we didn’t have to suffer the indignity of enduring the feat amid the vines. And able to leave the North Side with a series victory.
Perhaps more important than winning a series on the road–and against the North Side Media Darlings at that–is that the Sox have begun to play entertaining, competitive baseball with solid starting pitching such as Gavin Floyd‘s gem last night. Frankly, it was getting difficult to watch their dismal play–even for the most loyal fans.
So, now it’s on to Pittsburgh and Washington starting tomorrow night. The hope is that we can continue winning series and maybe even give Stephen Strasburg his first major league loss on Friday night.
Question of the Day: Hate to be petty, but has anyone ever seen Ted Lilly smile?
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We Can’t Blame it on Rios…or Freddy…or Santos…or Thornton

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With the White Sox having the dubious distinction of a league-low team batting average of .235 and a comparable mark with runners in scoring position, their 21-27 won-loss mark is no surprise. In fact, you could make the argument that it should be worse.
Amid the underperforming hitters is Alex Rios, whose .309 batting average is about 60 points more than the next regular, Juan Pierre (.251), and 108 points higher than last year’s rookie sensation, Gordon Beckham. Paul Konerko, whose average has dwindled to under .250, has come through on the power side, but Rios has been the man overall adding 10 homers and 25 RBI. He did it again last night with the key two-run homer off of David Price in the 4-2 victory over the first-place Rays. He’s been a godsend.
That goes for Freddy Garcia as well, who bounced back from his horrendous outing against the Marlins to dominate Tampa Bay last night. He’s been pretty darn good for a fifth starter especially since his fellow starters, for the most part, have underperformed. While we’re at it, we have to add Sergio Santos, he of the 0.50 ERA, and Matt Thornton (1.77) to the mix of stalwarts.
The common denominator here is that all of the above have been significant contributors for the first two months of the season and each had a hand in the win last night.
I don’t know where we’d be without them.
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