Tagged: Juan Pierre

42-42

It’s been a long time coming, but the White Sox reached the .500 mark today with a nail-biting 1-0 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley for their fourth straight win. Phil Humber (above), who has been nothing short of extraordinary all season, chalked up his eighth win in seven innings of work. The season’s most pleasant surprise outpitched Matt Garza, who went all the way in the loss.

The South Siders went hitless for five innings before the red-hot Juan Pierre (who else?) collected the first Sox hit and drove in their lone run in the same at bat in the sixth.

With Sergio Santos having pitched three days in a row, Matt Thornton was called upon to preserve the shutout. He did, hurling two perfect frames for his third save. Another spectacular performance by a bullpen that has been nothing less than spectacular in recent days.

Nothing’s perfect, though, and if an Adam Dunn resurgence is forthcoming it’s going to have to wait. Dunn, playing in right field in place of Carlos Quentin, struck out three times. It seems his nightmare is never going to end.

Sox win 4 of first 5 against the Cubs to win Crosstown Cup with 1 game to go.

White Sox Win Juan

For a while it looked like…well, it looked like the same movie we’ve seen a million times. Pitching that keeps us in the game and wasted opportunities by an underachieving offense.

But today, in the rubber game of the series vs. the Rockies, it was a different theme. It was, in short, a satisfying come-from-behind extra inning 6-4 victory. A far cry from the tough and controversial loss in the opener.

Down 4-1 heading into the seventh inning, the Sox scored one in the seventh, two in the eighth to tie the game and two in the 10th to take the lead. Sergio Santos pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save. He was preceded by starter Jake Peavy, who settled down after allowing a three-run, first inning homer to Troy Tulowitzki, and Will Ohman, Chris Sale and Jesse Crain, who each pitched a scoreless inning.

Two of the most maligned White Sox were today’s heroes. Juan Pierre went 3 for 5 with three RBI, including the single that bounced off the right field wall to score the fifth and sixth runs in the 10th. Gordon Beckham went 3 for 3 with a walk, homered and drove in a pair.

Sox are now 40-42 and remain four games in back of the division lead as they head into Wrigley tomorrow for a three-game series with you know who.

I’m Flummoxed

When you don’t have the answers, pull out the cliches:

  • You can’t win when you don’t score.
  • You’re not as bad as you look when you’re losing and not as good as you look when you’re winning.
  • A team that’s not hitting looks more lethargic than it really is. 

I don’t know what else to say. This White Sox team of the “All In” expectations entering this season has become a conundrum wrapped up in an enigma.  From day to day you never know what team is going to show up.

The biggest issue, of course, has been the offense–an offense that seemed destined to break out on a daily basis. They have been a far cry from what we expected. You only have to look at the last three games, the first three of the road trip. Losing each contest, the South Siders scored one run in the two games against the Twins and scored just a single run last night against ex-Sox Daniel Hudson in the 4-1 loss to the surging D-backs. Surprise, it was a Paul Konerko homer.

Sox Notes of Note:  Ozzie insists that Juan Pierre will remain in the leadoff spot and left field despite the pressure to recall Dayan Viciedo and move Carlos Quentin to left. Guillen also added “as long as he’s here.” I wonder if that was a throw away line or a Freudian slip–and there’s some movement behind the scenes to move Juan…While Pierre’s job is safe right now, Brent Lillibridge will be in the leadoff spot and in left field today against Arizona lefty Zach Duke. Brent Morel will be in the No. 2 hole, Alexei Ramirez will bat fifth and Ramon Castro will be behind the plate.

Juan for the Books

Last night ‘s White Sox homecoming was full of both oddities and familiarities as the Sox defeated the Tigers, 6-4, to move within two and a half games of second-place Detroit and seven behind the division-leading Tribe.

The oddities: Juan Pierre homered for the first time this season. Adam Dunn reached on an infield hit, his first off of a lefty. The Sox failed to score twice with the bases loaded and once with men on second and third with no outs. The South Siders broke a nine-game losing streak against the Tigers and in the process won their fourth consecutive game for the first time in 2011. Not to mention that Paul Konerko sat out the game after undergoing a procedure on his wrist.

The familiar:  Carlos Quentin smashed a three-run homer, his 14th, to give the Sox a 4-0 lead. Red-hot Brent Lillibridge slammed a solo shot, his seventh. “Money” closer Sergio Santos‘s four-out save, his 10th in 11 tries, ended with a strikeout of the always dangerous Miguel Cabrera. Brent Morel made three sensational plays at third, reminiscent of Joe Crede. Mark Buehrle delivered another quality start, winning his fifth of the season. Also very familiar were Alex Rios‘s continuing struggles at the plate and Matt Thornton‘s less-than-effective appearance as a set-up man.

Amid all of that, it was Pierre that emerged as the primary hero. It was his great catch against the wall off the bat of catcher Alex Avila with the bases loaded in the eighth that saved the Sox from losing the lead. Moments later, in the bottom of the inning, his homer gave the Sox some breathing room heading into the ninth. In all, he reached base four times (homer, two walks, one HBP) with three runs scored.

I would be remiss if I didn’t congratulate Dunn (half-kidding here). He took a baby step toward respectability as he beat out that ground ball to halt his hitless streak against lefthanders.

Gratuitous photo of the day: Actress Minnie Driver throws out the ceremonial first pitch last night at the Cell.

The “Cojones Kids” Do it Again

castro-620.jpg55995248.jpgTime will tell whether or not the White Sox will overtake the Twins and go to the postseason. Regardless of the outcome, it’s been a treat to watch this team from the point in early June that they made their move.
These guys just won’t quit. Because of their extraordinary intestinal fortitude, maybe we should call them the Cojones Kids (please see a Spanish dictionary for details if you’re not familiar with the term).
On this road trip alone–where they now find themselves 6-0–there were a pair of late-inning three run-homers (A.J.Pierzynski and Paul Konerko) and a close-to-a-miracle 11th inning shot by Brent Lillibridge in Cleveland and the amazing comeback this afternoon in Boston. This, after the impressive doubleheader sweep yesterday.
Down 5-3 heading to the top of ninth today against the Red Sox’s Jonathan Papelbon, here’s what happened on a beautiful day in Beantown. Please note that all the scoring came after two were out.
-Omar Vizquel flied out to center.
Alex Rios walked.
Andruw Jones, batted for Konerko. With Jones at bat, Rios steals second. Jones called out on strikes.
Carlos Quentin doubled to center, Rios scored. Red Sox, 5-4. Brent Lillibridge ran for Quentin.
Ramon Castro singled to center, Lillibridge scored. Score tied at 5-5.
Alexei Ramirez walked, Castro to second.
Dustin Richardson replaced Papelbon for Boston.
Mark Teahen walked, Castro to third, A. Ramirez to second. Robert Manuel replaced Richardson.
Gordon Beckham walked, Teahen to second, A. Ramirez to third, Castro scored. White Sox lead 6-5.
Juan Pierre walked. A. Ramirez scored, Beckham to second, Teahen to third. Sox, 7-5.
–Vizquel lined out, making his second out of the inning.
And Matt Thornton, in his first appearance since coming off of the DL, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save as the Pale Hose remain 3 1/2 games behind the Twins, who finished the sweep at home vs. Texas.
What a day–and now on to Detroit for four.
The Quentin Factor: There were many heroes in today’s glorious comeback win. Count Quentin as one of the biggest ones, as he went 3 for 5 with a pair of RBIs including a key one during the ninth inning uprising. CQ is beginnning to heat up and that can mean only good things for the South Siders.
Note of the Day: The Good Guys were a huge threat on the basepaths today with a total of six stolen bases, paced by Rios whose three thefts gives him 32 on the season. Only Pierre, with a league-leading 54, has more this season in a White Sox uniform.
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Sox Make it Interesting, But Yankee Homers and Walks Just Too Much to Overcome

52963528.jpgIf the White Sox had any chance of beating C.C. Sabathia and the Yankees tonight, John Danks (above) needed to be on his game. Unfortunately for the South Siders he wasn’t, and the Sox found themselves on the losing end of a 12-9 decision. It also dropped them to 4 1/2 games behind the Twins, 1-0 winners over the Mariners this afternoon.
Giving up a trio of two-run home runs in the first three innings, Danks put the Hose in a hole in which they could never escape. Trailing 6-1, the Sox narrowed the margin to a single run on the strength of a Paul Konerko two-run homer in the third inning and a two-run Andruw Jones blast in the fourth, but Danks and Tony Pena opened the flood gates again in the fifth by combining to surrender a fatal four spot. The Yanks, who smashed a total of four homers, padded their lead with two more runs in the final four innings. The Good Guys, resilient to the end, threatened in the ninth and had the tying run at the plate, but it was just too little too late–especially when you’re facing Mariano Rivera.
It’ll be up to Gavin Floyd tomorrow afternoon on Frank Thomas Day to help get the Sox a series win before they head to Cleveland, Boston and Detroit.
Pale Hose Notes of Note: The Sox outhit the Yankees 16-14, but Chicago pitchers walked an unacceptable nine men–which really was responsible for turning the tide…Lucas Harrell, recently recalled from Charlotte, entered the game in the ninth after Carlos Torres loaded the bases with one out. He was impressive, striking out Derek Jeter and getting Nick Swisher to line out to Juan Pierre in left.
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Win or Lose, These Sox Keep Coming at You

55690296.jpgYou’ve no doubt heard all of the details about the circumstances behind last night’s split doubleheader between the White Sox and Royals in Kansas City:
* The  terrible decision to start the game on Friday when umpire Joe West was told a torrential downpour was on its way.
* The fact that Edwin Jackson lost his start and reliever Tony Pena (above) had to start Game 2.
* The Fox Sports edict that the first game had to start at 6:05 CT–with a day game on Sunday.
Those developments set the stage for an eight-hour marathon, which saw the Sox play two extra-inning games–a 6-5 defeat in Game 1 (11 innings) after they blew a 5-1 lead and a 7-6 victory in Game 2  (10 frames) after they came back after blowing a ninth-inning lead.
What can we take from what we saw last night?
–Although he loaded the bases that set the stage for Yuniesky Betancourt‘s game-tying grand slam in Game 1, Freddy Garcia did what he had to do in 6 2/3 innings.
–Bravo to Pena, who made his first start in years, and went seven strong innings in Game 2. Aside from a four-run fourth inning, he was stellar.
–He was the losing pitcher in Game 1, but No. 1 draft pick Chris Sale is a stud. He looked overpowering in his 1 2/3 innings of work. And it was Bobby Jenks who coughed up the winning run.
–Our bullpen has been awful. First it was Santos and Jenks in Game 1, then J.J. Putz blew his third consecutive save in the nightcap after striking out the first two after Scott Linebrink gave up a blast in the eighth. Miraculously, Putz shut the door in the bottom of the 10th.
–The Sox could have very well won Game 1 if Brent Lillibridge, running for Paul Konerko, hadn’t hesitated around second base in the 10th after Carlos Quentin’s gap double to right-center. It was inexcusable for him to be thrown out which would have been the lead run. Lilli needs to be a better fundamental player and avoid the brain freezes.
–In Game 2, Ramon Castro‘s two-run homer, Alex Rios‘s RBI single and Juan Pierre‘s clutch two-out double in the 10th to put the Sox ahead for good, saved the day.
The No. 1 takeaway is that for all of the problems the Sox have had in the past couple of weeks, they keep coming back. They could have packed it in after Game 1 and again after the Royals took the lead in Game 2, but they didn’t and kept fighting. Win or lose, that’s really the legacy of this team.
“To bounce back in the second game and play the way they did, what can be better than that,” Ozzie said in the wee small hours of the morning.
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                  Lillibridge’s blunder: The run that should have scored in Game 1



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