It was inevitable that at some point, the White Sox offense would break out–nay, merely avoid being completely obliterated by career-long averagish innings-eater Jeremy Guthrie.
I just had abandoned the idea that it was going happen this year.
But rather than the terrifying lion who had posted a 0.40 ERA in his last six starts against the Sox, Guthrie was a wonky, walk-addled mess, who hung his breaking balls when he wasn’t dumping them in the dirt. And the White Sox, rather than looking like the “worst offense in the AL” moniker they have earned, rendered the game a laugher by the third inning and cruised to a 9-1 triumph.
Three first inning walks from Guthrie, including a 3-2 fastball that he whipped a foot outside to Paul Konerko followed sacrifice fly by Conor Gillaspie gave the White Sox an early 2-0 advantage, but the demons were exorcised properly in the third.
Alexei Ramirez began the inning with a pedestrian-looking looping single to left, but the line-drives rained on Guthrie from there. Alex Rios ripped a liner off the wall to left field to score Ramirez, and came home when Dunn laced a single into the left-center gap. After Paul Konerko lined out to center, Guthrie’s final pitch of the game was lifted into the right field corner by Gillaspie, pursued thirstily and clumsily by Jeff Francoeur and kicked off the top of the wall next to the foul pole.
Dunn’s lack of a read on the ball, and whatever Francoeur was doing, meant he only got to third base. But at that moment, an equally well-known mediocre Sox tormentor stepped to the mound in the form of Bruce Chen and promptly threw an unimpressive slider that Viciedo hung back on and hammered into the second row of the left-center field stands to put the Sox up 7-0. “What’s happening here, ” Hawk exclaimed, perfectly.
Chen, left in to wear the destruction that his counterpart had conjured up, threw another nothing slider on the arm-side to Alejandro De Aza in the sixth inning, which he hit on a line to the right field seats for his 10th home run of the season, making it 9-0 White Sox. The blast brought the Sox within a run of their highest-scoring output of the season and provided a solid example for confused Royals’ hitters about how to hit home runs in Kaufman Stadium.
Lost in this relative orgy of production was Hector Santiago, who with little more than a low-90′s fastball that he sprayed around and the occasional slider, change and screwball, threw eight innings–a career-high–with only a sixth inning solo shot allowed to Eric Hosmer against his name. His control seem to have better results than it looked and his five strikeouts were a relatively low total for him, but Santiago didn’t eclipse 100 pitches until the eighth, didn’t allow a run until he was already up 9-0 and generally provided no reason to watch anything that happened in the bottom half of the inning.
For a night, all there was to do was watch the White Sox hang line drives, and watch replays of the White Sox hanging line-drives. The White Sox don’t get laughers very often, so they should make sure to laugh hard for this one.
Team Record: 30-41
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