It wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but it’s one the White Sox will take.
The Sox beat the second-place Detroit Tigers 6-4 Friday night at U.S. Cellular as Mark Buehrle earned his fifth win of the year.
Getting men on-base wasn’t the issue, getting them all the way around was…at times.
The White Sox loaded the bases in the first inning with no outs (HBP and 2 BB) and could only get a run because Tigers youngster Andrew Oliver made a mental mistake and threw to first instead of home with one out.
They had runners on second and third with no outs in the third inning and couldn’t push either one across.
They loaded the bases AGAIN in the fifth inning, only to ground into a fielder’s choice and inning-ending double-play.
In all, the White Sox stranded 10 runners on the evening and went just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Lucky for the Sox, they also found some power this evening from the bats of Carlos Quentin (3-run shot in the 4th), Brent Lillibridge (solo shot in the 5th) and Juan Pierre (first of the season leading off the 8th after making a game-saving catch in the 7th).
Buehrle was hit around as he sometimes is, but between the 10 hits the Tigers only scored three runs.
Matt Thornton made it interesting in the eighth (Jesse Crain appeared to be unavailable) but Sergio Santos came on to earn a four-out save in a big situation.
Finally, the defense was huge against the Tigers. Brent Morel made several spectacular plays at third, Pierre had his game-saver in the 8th and A.J. Pierzynski even threw a couple of runners out (okay, one was Miguel Cabrera).
The White Sox are at a very crucial stretch in the season. Attendance is hovering in the 20-25,000 range on good nights, the team is below .500 and failing to show any consistency. The weather is warming up so nobody has anymore excuses – it’s time to come to work to put some butts in the seats.
Chicago is on a four-game win-streak, its longest of the season, and also has more than half of its games this month at home. There’s no better time than now to put it all together, get Johnny Danks some wins and get Rios and Dunn a little swagger.
The Indians have hit a rough patch, 3-7 over their last 10. They lead the Tigers by five in the loss column and the Sox by nine, so there is still ground to be made up.
The expectations were high for the club coming into the season and the pressure will only get higher if the wind doesn’t change soon.