All night long, Doug Fister was eminently hittable. It just took a little bit for him to be eminently scoreonable.
But despite the White Sox's best efforts, they found a way to put crooked numbers on the board en route to their first easy 27th out since April 21.
They pounded Fister for 14 hits over 5 2/3 innings, but they couldn't scratch across a second run until the fifth inning. The combination of poor baserunning and Alexei Ramirez didn't help.
Ramirez grounded into a 5-4-3 double play as the second batter of the game. Adam Dunn dropped a bloop double and Paul Konerko singled him home. Problem was, he felt he needed to draw a cutoff, and so he was caught between first and second. Three hits, only one run.
That trend continued:
Second inning: Alex Rios delivered a two-out single, then was caught stealing.
Third inning: With first and third and nobody out, Juan Pierre hits a fly too shallow to left, and Alexei Ramirez check-swings his way into a 1-3 double play. Brent Morel strayed too far from first after Fister caught the flared comebacker.
Fourth inning: A.J. Pierzynski erases back-to-back hits by Dunn and Konerko with a double play.
When the Sox loaded the bases on three singles, you could probably get even odds for "zero runs" against the field -- especially when Pierre fell behind 1-2. But finally, the baseball gods finally started getting more pissed off at Doug Fister.
Fister did the Sox a favor by plunking Pierre on the triceps (Pierre did just enough to qualify for "attempting to get out of the way"). That brought home one run, and after Ramirez flared out behind the second base bag, Dunn drove in a second run with a sac fly to center. It wasn't pretty, but the Sox stumbled into a crooked number, and gave Gavin Floyd some well-deserved breathing room.
It turns out that Floyd didn't need it. By that point, he had cleared his biggest hurdles -- a leadoff single in the first, two baserunners in the second, and a leadoff Paul Konerko error in the third.
He retired 17 of his last 19 batters, and one of the batters that reached was immediately retired. Ichiro hit a grounder back through the box, and Floyd knocked it down with his foot. His recovered and tried to throw to first, but the throw skipped past Konerko. Gordon Beckham, much like he did for Edwin Jackson during the no-hitter, backed up the play in time to throw out Ichiro at second, saving Floyd from an error.
Yes, finally it was a night where everything was working for the White Sox, and nothing worked better than the bottom of the order.
The 7-8-9 combo knocked out Fister in the sixth. After A.J. Pierzynski was robbed of a homer to center for the second out, Alex Rios started a rally by roping a double past the laughable defense of Milton Bradley. Gordon Beckham drove him in with a single to right, and Brent Morel followed with a double that short-hopped the left-center wall to extend the lead to 5-0.
At that point, the last three hitters were a combined 9-for-9, and Pierre turned the order over by reaching in two of his three plate appearances, too.
Pierre ended up reaching base four times, including a second HBP. He scored the final run of the night, coming home on a single to center by pinch-hitting Mark Teahen. Teahen replaced Konerko, who left the game for x-rays after experiencing discomfort at the base of his left hand while swinging the bat.
*One of Morel's singles might have been due to interference by Beckham, who reached second baseman Adam Kennedy at the same time as the ball. Beckham jumped, the ball got past Kennedy, and it might've been due to Beckham kicking his glove. I didn't see a definitive replay.
*It was basically feast or famine for the lineup. Six starters had two or more hits, while Ramirez, Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin went 0-for-14 with a walk.