After scoring first in all 10 games on a 3-7 road trip, the White Sox tried sitting back and letting the other team grab a first-inning lead. A three-run Paul Konerko homer in the bottom of the inning showed it was a smart move.
Sure, they wouldn't be advised to deploy the many strategies they used very often, but for one night, it worked. Coming home to a sold-out U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox kicked off a too-brief three-game stay with a convincing victory to snap a five-game losing streak.
Then again, they're facing the Minnesota Twins. The White Sox allowed 11 hits and six walks, committed three errors and threw in a wild pitch for good measure, and yet the Twins could only manage to score four runs with all the help.
They did, however, ground into five double plays.
Gavin Floyd induced four of them, including a big one off the bat of Josh Willingham in the first inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. A run crossed the plate, but Floyd happily traded a run for an out, and escaped an ugly inning with no further damage.
Floyd, rebounding from elbow tendinitis to make his first start since July 7, didn't have command (six walks!), but he did have enough movement to keep the slap-hitting Twins off balance. He found the double play ball in the third, fourth and fifth innings, which turned what could and should have been a rocky return into a quality start.
Unfortunately (for trivia fans), Floyd struck out the last batter he faced, Jamey Carroll, meaning he was one hitter away from being the first White Sox pitcher to pick up a win while walking six or more batters without a strikeout since Stan Bahnsen in 1973.
The Sox, unlike their counterparts, were able to mix speed and power. As a result, they were finally able to knock out a starting pitcher early, and Francisco Liriano at that. The Sox rocked him for three homers over 2 2/3 inning, with Adam Dunn and Alex Rios taking him deep in the third. Liriano allowed all seven runs the Sox scored.
Alejandro De Aza played the role of catalyst, going 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. He reached base in both of the Sox's crooked-number innings. Paul Konerko did him one better -- he homered to right in his first at-bat, singled to center in his second, and ripped a base hit to left in his third. The homer was his 15th of the season, his first of July, and his first to true opposite field (he hit two just right of center).
The only blemish on De Aza's night was a throwing error, but only because he was the only one to touch the ball on the play. After fielding a Joe Mauer single, he threw the ball back to second base, where Gordon Beckham was standing. But as De Aza let go of the ball, both Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez turned away from him. The ball landed somewhere in the infield grass, and rolled far enough away for a run to score and Mauer to take second.
Kevin Youkilis committed the other two errors, and both on the same play. He stopped a hard smash by Brian Dozier, but couldn't find the ball (it was at his feet). He recovered too late, but that didn't stop him from making an ill-advised throw which got past Konerko for the double error.
The five double plays made up for the miscues, as did Alexei Ramirez's incredible leaping catch on a Mauer liner in the ninth. That prevented the tying run from coming to the plate, and Addison Reed struck out Willingham on a changeup to end the game.
- Brett Myers made his White Sox debut and retired the only batter he faced to end the eighth.
- Jesse Crain also returned from the DL, and was greeted by a Ryan Doumit solo homer.