Edwin had better command today then in his no-hitter against us last year. We weren't pressing, he was that good. We will work thru this.
It took a full turn through the rotation before a White Sox starter turned in a start to be proud of, but Edwin Jackson made up for lost time. Facing a depleted Tampa Bay lineup, Jackson struck out a career-high 13 over eight dominant innings to give the Sox a victory in their home opener.
Jackson's day began inauspiciously - Sam Fuld led off with a single, and then stole second and third. But Jackson struck out a pair of hitters between the steals, and then got Dan Johnson to fly out to center to keep Fuld from making the final 90 feet.
In the process, he started a welcome pattern, striking out two batters in each of the first five innings. He wouldn't allow another hit until the seventh.
In the meantime, the Sox resumed their old habit of building early leads. Juan Pierre led off with a single, followed by Gordon Beckham taking a curve to the foot. Alex Rios battled out of an early hole to even the count at 2, and then ripped a changeup to left. Fuld broke in on it, and it rocketed through the fog and over his head for a two-run double.
Price limited the damage for the first of two times on the day. He struck out Alexei Ramirez on an unhittable fastball, which looked like it might've been inside. Doug Eddings didn't think so, and so Ramirez left a runner at third with one out. Later on, he rebounded from a Paul Konerko RBI single and a bases-loaded jam by getting A.J. Pierzynski to tap into an inning-ending, 1-2-3 double play.
Jackson had their backs. He reminded me of Jose Contreras on the Count's best days, with a good fastball and a good diving pitch. Jackson's slider masqueraded as a splitter, dropping straight down to great effect against both righties and lefties.
He even resembled Contreras in his indifference towards baserunners. Fuld stole three bases against him, but he never crossed the plate. The Rays had to wait until the eighth to break up the shutout bid, with Reid Brignac driving in Felipe Lopez with a one-out RBI single. Jackson finished his day allowing just four hits and a walk.
The Sox got the run back and then some with their own running game. Alexei Ramirez stole second with two outs and scored on Brent Lillibridge's single, and then the Bridge followed the blueprints by stealing second and coming around on Pierre's base hit.
Sergio Santos recorded the final three outs as the bullpen got a much-needed light day.
*Pierzynski had a lousy day. Not only did he go 0-for-4 with six runners stranded, but he also popped up a sac bunt attempt, and made a mistake when he had an opportunity to throw out B.J. Upton. Upton stopped between first and second, and Pierzynski didn't run at him. Instead, he threw it to second, and when Ramirez couldn't get the ball out of his mitt, Upton was able to get back to first safely.
*Lillibridge started in right field in the first game following Lastings Milledge's DFA, and justified his existence with two singles and two steals.