White Sox 9, Rays 2: If they lead, they lead

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 21: Outfielder Juan Pierre #1 of the Chicago White Sox bunts against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on April 21, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

I guess the White Sox didn't like me calling them "Booooooooooooooooooooooooring."

That said, Ozzie Guillen didn't bend on his smallball policies. Since it ended a seven-game losing streak, we'll call it the Great Compromise.

Juan Pierre dropped down a bunt in the first at-bat of the game. It turned into a triple after Felipe Lopez bounced the throw past Casey Kotchman for a single and a two-base error. Omar Vizquel brought him home with an RBI groundout, giving the Sox their first lead in 51 innings.

Those two set the tone all night long. Pierre reached on another bunt in his second time up, slapping one past the oaken Jeff Niemann with one out in the third. Vizquel fouled off a bunt attempt, and then followed up with an RBI double over the head of Tampa Bay right fielder Matt Joyce in third inning, stretching the lead to 2-0.

After Carlos Quentin took one for the team, Paul Konerko made it a crooked number when he stayed with an outside-corner pitch and dropped a single into right, and Adam Dunn pulled one in the same direction to make it 4-0. Alex Rios drew a walk to load the bases, and A.J. Pierzynski drove Konerko home with a sac fly to center for a four-run third.

Those would be all the runs Gavin Floyd needed, although he made sure that it wasn't boring. Twice, he allowed three baserunners in an inning without allowing a run to score, and the game hinged on his second-inning escape.

Floyd found himself in the first of a few jams that inning. He loaded the bases with one out when he hit Casey Kotchman in the foot on an errant slider. John Jaso, who hit the big blast against Phil Humber the night before, only tapped one weakly back to the mound, allowing Floyd to start an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.

That turned out to be huge, as Floyd left the mound with a 1-0 lead, and returned with a five-run cushion. He promptly allowed three more baserunners, but he picked off the important one - Reid Brignac, who started the inning with a single. Once again, he escaped the inning unscored upon.

He couldn't escape a third jam - Sam Fuld (of course) broke him for a two-run single in the fourth. But A.J. Pierzynski stalled the Rays' momentum by poking a duck-snort single to center off Cesar Ramos (the LOOGY brought into face him).

From that point on, it was all Floyd and all White Sox. Floyd retired the last seven batters he faced, and struck out four of them. Facing a predominantly left-handed lineup, Floyd attacked with sliders in and backdoor curves, and the combination led to seven strikeouts.

He and three relievers received plenty of run support.  Carlos Quentin drove a two-run double to right center in the sixth, and Paul Konerko found the hole on the left side for another run in the eighth.


*Quentin's line (1-for-3, one walk, one HBP, two RBI) undersells his tough plate appearances. He saw 28 pitches over five plate appearances.

*The Sox were hit by three pitches overall.

*Not only did the Sox play errorless defense - they played good defense, and superior defense compared to the Rays.

Record: 8-11 | Box score | Play-by-play

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