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Sox 6, Royals 2; Hit the Showers, Francis

Brent Lillibridge blasts his 10th home run of the season.  10 homers.  Brent Lillibridge.  Who woulda thunk it? (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Brent Lillibridge blasts his 10th home run of the season. 10 homers. Brent Lillibridge. Who woulda thunk it? (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The White Sox smacked around Royals starter Jeff Francis early and often as the Sox took the rubber match 6-2 and moved back to the .500 mark.  After one out in the first, Francis drilled Alexei Ramirez with a pitch and the rest of the lineup made him pay.  Paul Konerko served a single into center and Carlos Quentin followed with a base hit to left to score Ramirez.  After Alex Rios lined out hard to left, Brent Lillibridge sent a Francis fastball flying into the left field seats to make it a 4-0 game.  

In the bottom of the 4th, the Sox would end Francis' day.  Juan Pierre started the inning with a beautiful drag bunt single.  Ramirez followed it up with a base hit to center.  Pierre beat Mitch Maier's throw to third, which allowed Ramirez to take 2nd.  After a Konerko walk, Quentin flied out deep to center, allowing Pierre to score and Ramirez into third.  Rios brought in Ramirez with a deep fly to right to make it 6-0.  After a Lillibridge infield single, Nate Adcock was brought in and retired Tyler Flowers to end the inning.

Meanwhile, John Danks had it in cruise control.  He struck out his last two batters he faced in the first and the first two he faced in the 2nd for four strikeouts in a row.  Nobody was making solid contact off of him, but he did walk four batters through 5 innings.  

He got the first two outs in the 6th before Billy Butler got the first Royals hit.  Butler hit a chopper down the first base line that took a horrible hop on Lillibridge and scooted by him to end the no-hit bid.  It was ruled an error at first, but after a 2nd look, the Official Scorer changed the call.  When the change was made the fans booed, but it was the right call.  It didn't matter for long though as Jeff Francoeur lined a double to left.  Maier followed that up with a 2 run single to cut the lead to 6-2.  Brayan Pena singled to give the Royals four hits in a row, but Danks got Mike Moustakas to pop out to end the inning.

Jason Frasor, Matt Thornton and Will Ohman pitched the 7th, 8th and 9th respectively, and didn't allow a run as the Sox won 6-2.

The win, coupled with the Tigers loss, puts the Sox back to 4 games behind Detroit.  

* All wasn't rosy for the Sox offense, as they left 12 men on base and could have easily scored double digit runs.

* Paul Konerko had a perfect day at the plate, going 3-3 with 2 walks.

* Five White Sox had at least two hits (Ramirez, Konerko, Lillibridge, Flowers and Gordon Beckham).

* Lillibridge has made some great plays at first and is doing awesome for someone who never played the position until recently.  He did record an error today, but also made a beautiful diving stab on a rocket down the line and scooped a Brent Morel throw.  

* Speaking of Morel, he made a lot of nice plays today, including an ultra impressive stop in the 9th.  Johnny Giavotella ripped a ball down the line, which Morel full out dove for and threw from his knee.  Unfortunately, Giavotella barely beat the throw.  If it was a slower runner, that would have been the number one web gem.

* The Sox enjoy a day off tomorrow before Cleveland comes to town.  On Tuesday it will be Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Gavin Floyd.

WP: John Danks (5-9)

LP: Jeff Francis (4-13)

HR: Brent Lillibridge (10)

Record: 60-60 |  Box