After a pair of poorly played games, the threat of a crosstown sweep at the hands of the lowly Cubs died quietly tonight.
Gavin Floyd broke out a six-start slump to take command of the game on his side, and the offense eventually joined in by taking advantage of every break that came its way.
Floyd, who owned a 10.38 ERA since May 16, threw six 6 1/3 scoreless and mostly uneventful innings. On the couple of occasions where the Cubs tested Floyd, he hunkered down in impressive fashion. He pitched around a leadoff double by David DeJesus in the third inning, and a leadoff triple by Starlin Castro in the sixth.
He allowed just four hits and a walk, thanks in large part to his curve. He threw it 30 times over 108 pitches, when normally he would throw 20. Credit him and A.J. Pierzynski for sticking with what worked, especially when they home plate umpire Bill Miller continued to give them a generous outside corner.
Floyd also benefited from a fair amount of run support, and the offense benefited from good fortune. They built a 3-0 lead against Randy Wells through four innings with just one clean hit.
Wells started the third by walking Eduardo Escobar, and then doing the same to Alejandro De Aza. Gordon Beckham bunted them both over, which brought Adam Dunn to the plate. Dunn didn't come close to striking out -- he reached out for the first pitch and lined an outside fastball to left for the game's first run.
Paul Konerko followed Dunn's lead, and it worked -- even if it wasn't as pretty. He jammed himself on a hanging slider, but it fell in front of Reed Johnson in right for a 2-0 lead.
The Sox chased Wells from the game one inning later. Alexei Ramirez reached with a one-out single (David DeJesus pulled up on the soft liner), moved to second on De Aza's infield single, and scored on Gordon Beckham's duck snort to right.
Beckham put the game out of reach in the sixth with a palpable hit. After Escobar singled and De Aza walked, Beckham took Scott Maine over the right field wall for an opposite-field three-run homer. Ramirez added an extra point in the seventh with an RBI single, and the Sox avoided the sweep.
Escobar, starting for Orlando Hudson, made a compelling case for an encore. He reached base twice at the bottom of the order, stole a base, and also made a beautiful diving stab on a ball down the line to start the second. That took a double away from Darwin Barney to help keep the game scoreless, at least until he was able to draw a walk to start that two-run rally in the third.
- Beckham tied a career-high with four RBI.
- Everybody in the lineup had a hit save Dayan Viciedo.
- Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Will Ohman combined to work 2 2/3 perfect innings.
- De Aza didn't particularly care for Manny Corpas drilling him in the hip to start the bottom of the eighth. It was the first pitch, it was nowhere close, and De Aza thought it was on purpose. I'd agree with his inkling there, since Alex Rios attempted a steal with a six-run lead the previous inning.