A.J. Pierzynski homered, knocked in 3 runs and made a beautiful play on a pop foul near the Orioles dugout to lead the Sox to their 4th win in a row. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
The White Sox started out strong with 4 runs in the 2nd inning, but needed late inning heroics to reclaim the lead. Sergio Santos proved to be the opposite of Bobby Jenks and completely dominated the heart of the Orioles order in the 9th to close out the 7-6 contest.
A.J. Pierzynski got things started in the 2nd with a lead off home run into the center field stands. Alex Rios continued his hot hitting as he followed A.J. with a double. Adam Dunn took what Jeremy Guthrie gave him and singled into left field to score Rios. Gordon Beckham followed Dunn with his 9th homer of the season to give the Sox a 4-0 lead.
The Orioles would get 2 back in the 3rd as Matt Wieters smoked a double off of the right field fence and scored on a single by Josh Bell. After a J.J. Hardy double, Bell scored on a Nick Markakis sac fly.
The O's would scratch again in the 5th as Hardy roped another double into the corner to score Wieters who led off with a sharp single.
In the 6th, the Sox would get one back as Carlos Quentin followed Paul Konerko, who reached on an error, with a shot into the left field corner. Konerko, who was barely moving due to his knee injury, was thrown out at third. The official scorer foolishly gave Quentin a single on the play even though it was a clear double. A.J. would come through again with a base hit just out of the reach of 2nd baseman Robert Andino to score Quentin.
John Danks was brought out to start the 7th inning with Wieters leading off. The Oriole catcher smoked another double, his third hit of the evening. Andino followed with a bunt that Danks pounced on and fired to Brent Morel in plenty of time to get Wieters, but he kicked the ball out of Morel's glove giving the O's runners on the corners with nobody out. Bell, who was 2-2, struck out swinging. Ozzie made the call for Jesse Crain to face Hardy, who was 2-3 with 2 rope doubles off of Danks. Unfortunately, the move didn't pay off as Hardy hit a liner down the line just over the fence to give the Orioles the 6-5 lead.
Jim Johnson was brought in to hold the lead for the Birds, but he walked Konerko with one out. Brent Lillibridge pinch ran for Paulie and read a bloop hit by Carlos Quentin perfectly advancing all the way to third base. Pierzynski came through again, as he lifted a fly ball to center, scoring Lillibridge. A poor throw to the plate by Adam Jones allowed Quentin to take 2nd, and that would cost the Orioles as Rios continued his hot hitting by smoking a ball by the diving Bell to give the Sox a 7-6 lead.
With one out in the 8th, Nolan Reimold singled and Wieters walked. Andino popped a foul ball towards the Orioles dugout, AJ went over, found the rail and gloved it as he nearly fell into the dugout to give the Sox the 2nd out of the inning. Matt Thornton was called upon to retire Bell, and he did the job as Bell grounded weakly to Alexei Ramirez.
Sergio Santos was brought in to close out the 9th and struck out Hardy, Markakis and Jones- all on sliders- to end the game.
The Sox have now won 4 in a row.
* Alex Rios was 2-4 with 2 RBIs and a stolen base.
* Konerko was really hobbling around the bases today.
* Juan Pierre nearly gave the White Sox a cycle in the 2nd inning, but was gunned down trying to stretch a double into a triple.
* I was confused with Ozzie's use of his pitchers today. Danks started the 7th with Wieters and Bell due up (they were 4-4 off of him... not to mention Hardy in the hole who was 2-3 himself). Then he left in Jesse Crain to start the 8th after he struggled through the 7th.
* Danks struck out 7 and didn't walk a batter over his 6 1/3 innings.
* Lillibridge played 1st in the 9th after he pinch ran for the DH This is the second time Ozzie has opted to lose the DH in the last week or so. Shows how terrible Dunn is at first.
WP: Crain (6-3)
LP: Johnson (5-4)
S: Santos (23)
HR: Pierzynski (6), Beckham (9), Hardy (20)
Record: 56-58| G.B. 5| Box