Alex Rios featured prominently in our pre-game lineup post, playing the part of the starting right fielder and No. 3 hitter. 10 minutes before he was to take the field, word got on the wire that Alex was leaving town for good for Texas, another step in the White Sox sell-off from this disastrous season.
Because of this oddly-timed departure, and because the lineup was made to include Blake Tekotte as a result, the actual game took a backseat in the minds of most White Sox fans, which is a shame, since it was actually enjoyable for a bit before the Twins rallied for a 7-5 win.
By the time U.S. Cellular Field had everyone’s focus again, John Danks was getting pulled after walking the first two batters of the seventh, Robin Ventura was alternating righty-lefty-righty for three batters in a row in the first game of a Friday day-night double header, Donnie Veal was blowing his only assignment and walking Joe Mauer to load the bases, and a Justin Morneau grand slam was crashing into the right field seats. A 3-1 White Sox lead became a 5-3 deficit before anyone had the time to make it a drink and ask it about its day.
It was a disappointing destruction of an odd day for John Danks, who after allowing a second-inning solo homer (his 21st allowed this season in less than 100 innings), had uncharacteristically danced outside the strike zone all afternoon. He racked up nine strikeouts over six innings but walked a season-high five. It was a noted departure from his post-surgery strategy of pounding the zone recklessly and suffering the consequences, and yet there were still consequences. At least Donnie Veal got the loss. He’s had a few coming.
Solo shots from Oswaldo Arcia and another Justin Morneau off bullpen filler David Purcey and Ramon Troncoso in the eighth and ninth put a comeback out of reach for a White Sox offense that suddenly seems motivated and interested in doing things.
A two-run ninth inning single by Alexei Ramirez would have tied the game if not for those added home runs, after Ramirez’s second home run of the season, a towering two-run blast that dropped into the left field bullpen at an almost 90-degree angle, put the Sox ahead in the fifth. He’s still not having a good offensive year, but he’s closer to not being bad than he’s been in a while.
Paul Konerko, also seemingly granted his power again in the wake of Rios’ departure, hit his ninth home run of the season to tie the game in second inning. Boy, it will really get confusing if he ends the season hot.
Team Record: 43-70
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