White Sox 5, Marlins 3: Clean sweep, clean slate

David Banks

Sox back to .500 after taking all three from lowly Miami

If nothing else, the White Sox are able to kick a team when it's down. They may not do it with authority, but a win is a win, and a sweep over the worst team in baseball at home is a sweep.

The good news: The Sox did score enough to raise their runs-per-win average, and the defense bolstered some shaky starting pitching with a pair of outfield assists to keep the momentum going. It's not a particularly elegant way to win a game, but the Sox are back to .500 and looking for more.

Dylan Axelrod provided more fodder to the theory that he pitches to the competition with a pretty unimpressive start. He started with a 1-2-3 inning, and Adam Dunn gave him a two-run homer, his 12th of the year, to set an easy Sunday in motion.

That never happened, because Axelrod found himself in immediate trouble over the next two innings. The second inning started with a pair of singles, exacerbated by an ill-advised throw by Dayan Viciedo that put runners on second and third with nobody out.

But Viciedo made up for his throwing error by gunning down the trailing runner, Chris Coghlan, at the plate on Justin Ruggiano's single to temporarily preserve a 2-1 lead. A Nick Green single evened it up before the inning concluded, though.

The third followed a similar script. After a two-out, two-run double by Alejandro De Aza restored a two-run lead in the bottom of the second, Axelrod started the third with a pair of walks. One of them came around to score on Marcell Ozuna's checked-swing fielder's choice. That cut the White Sox lead down to 4-3, and while Axelrod regained some footing, he never inspired a ton of confidence.

In fact, Robin Ventura pulled him with one out in the sixth after just 77 pitches. Ozuna reached with a leadoff single and moved to second on a groundout, so Ventura went to Matt Lindstrom. Lindstrom promptly gave up an opposite-field single to Ruggiano, hit hard enough that Ozuna didn't think about scoring until Alex Rios bobbled the ball.

Rios booted it enough to give Ozuna enough time to score, but Hector Gimenez had other ideas. He put his left foot down in front of the plate as the throw came in, and that's all Ozuna's hand found when he went to touch home. He slid past the plate, and Gimenez applied the tag for the unlikely outfield assist. A walk and a flyout later, Lindstrom escaped the inning with the lead intact.

Axelrod ended up outlasting Alex Sanabia (four runs over four innings) to come away with the victory. Like the Sox, he's at .500 (3-3). He can thank a stellar effort by the bullpen, as Matt Thornton (seventh), Jesse Crain (eighth) and Addison Reed all worked perfect innings to close out the sweep.

Bullet points:

  • Rios started a new hit streak with an RBI single, cashing in De Aza to give Reed an insurance run.
  • Paul Konerko was thrown out at the plate after blowing through a Joe McEwing stop-sign when he saw a throw from right field short-hop the second baseman and bounce away. It didn't bounce far enough away, though, because Konerko was out by 10 feet.

Record: 23-23 | Box score | Play-by-play | Highlights

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