The best way to make a statement is with your play on the field, and the White Sox did just that Thursday night.
After losing four straight series and two straight 1-run games to the Twins, the Sox had to be looking to send a message; either that they weren't to be completely counted out in the form of a convincing victory or, with a message pitch directed at Delmon Young or Joe Mauer's backside.
The Sox pitching staff seemed like they should owe one to their offense after Carlos Quentin was hit twice -- once seemingly intentionally -- in last weeks series in Chicago. That score to settle got larger when Young went high and hard with a forearm into A.J. Pierzynski in Tuesday's game, but given the close nature of the first two games the Sox weren't in the position to be doling out free baserunners. So when the offense pounded Carl Pavano to the tune of 7 runs on 15 hits, it looked like tonight would be the night for some retribution both on the scoreboard and in the batter's box.
Sadly, when Young's spot in the lineup came up in the 8th inning with the Sox holding an 11-run lead, Ron Gardenhire, knowing full well what was likely coming Young's way, pulled him in favor of Jason Repko. The Sox pen dutifully hit the glove for the rest of the night, perhaps content to leave town with a convincing win. But it sure would have felt nice to see them throw at someone, anyone.
Before Ozzie went off on his detractors regarding his driving of Jim Thome into the arms of the Twins, minutes after Thome won the series opener with a walk-off homer, Ozzie was ripping on his team, saying something about not seeing a whole lot of effort out there -- Yes, this was the same game in which the Sox fought back from a 4-run deficit early and a 1-run deficit to take a late lead in extra innings -- so you would think he would be the one to be cheerleading the largely meaningless message HBP late in the blowout.
There's a disconnect there, but I've long since ceased trying to figure out Guillen.
As for the actual game, it was a blowout, maybe even more severe than the score indicated. The Sox had 10 hits through 3 innings yet only had 5 runs to show for it. There was no reason Carl Pavano should have been around in the 7th inning, yet there he was taking his lumps.
Mark Buehrle won his first game in Minnesota since '07. Shutting the opposing team out is usually a good plan. The Sox should try it more often, like tomorrow in Kansas City. A few more games like that and they'll at least make the stretch run an interesting one. Is that too much to ask?
EDIT: Buehrleman points out what would have been obvious if I had been paying close enough attention. Putz did hit Orlando Hudson. Just goes to show you if you don't see it, you're still out for blood.