The White Sox played some inspired defense in the first half of this game. Alejandro De Aza made a full-sprint catch in right-center for the second out of the game, and Alexei Ramirez :
Basically, their collective performance was their way of telling Zach Stewart, "Just keep the ball in the park."
Oh, but Zach Stewart cannot keep the ball in the park. He gives up gopher balls in neutral conditions, so when the wind is gusting out at 40 mph, it's hard to stomach the carnage.
Sure enough, Stewart gave up four home runs over 5 2/3 innings, and each one was more disheartening the one that came before, because he showed a knack for caving in with two outs.
Stewart set down the first two Cubs in the third, but after Starlin Castro singled, Bryan LaHair jumped on a misplaced slider and sent it over the right-center wall for a 2-0 lead.
Stewart gave up another two-run homer in the fifth -- this one to Starlin Castro with one out. But after a LaHair lineout, Alfonso Soriano hit a screamer into the shrubbery in center field.
That stretched the lead to 5-0, and after A.J. Pierzynski put the Sox on the board with a solo homer, Geovany Soto touched up Stewart for the fourth Cubs homer -- again with two outs -- to knock Stewart out of the game.
After Paul Konerko hit a line-drive homer off and over the top of the wall to make it a 6-3 game, it was all downhill from there. The Cubs piled on six runs in the seventh for the worst night of Nate Jones' career (he faced five batters, gave up four singles and a homer).
But back to Stewart: He has now surrendered 10 home runs in 30 innings this season. It's worth noting that Dylan Axelrod is scheduled to start for Charlotte on Tuesday. If I were a betting man, I'd wager they'll be trading places before tomorrow's game.
Hector Santiago started his night by plunking David DeJesus, but settled down to retire the next eight he faced, with three strikeouts. He was the lone bright spot in the pitching section of the box score, and he needed a standout day, regardless of the opponent.
- That was the second time DeJesus was hit by a pitch in the inning, although the first was dubious, because it looked like Will Ohman's "HBP" actually hit the knob of DeJesus' bat. That started the game-ending seven-run rally.
- De Aza also made this nice diving catch. The defense was there.