A.J. Doesn’t Start, Plays Hero Anyway
It was Dan Haren and it was Francisco Liriano that controlled the game early as neither team was able to do much offensively against the day’s starters. Neither pitcher would last too deep into the game and White Sox bullpen held up better than the Angels’ enabling the Pale Hose to take the series two games to one.
Angels (58-51): 2
White Sox (59-48): 4
Francisco Liriano has only made 2 starts for the White Sox so far but already he can be considered a boon to the rotation. He surely won over a few more fans Sunday afternoon as he donned his 1972 throwback jersey and proceeded to work through the Angels lineup with relative ease until trouble brewed in the 5th. Maicer Izturis lead off the inning with an infield hit that ricocheted hard off the leg of Liriano, Peter Bourjos followed with a bunt single and both runners were advanced by Bobby Wilson’s sacrifice bunt. The Scioscia plan completed itself one at-bat later as Mike Trout hit a fly ball to center that allowed Izturis to tag up and score the first run of the game. Liriano would have to leave the game after the inning was complete, despite having thrown only 72 pitches, due to the effects of that line drive off of his leg.
The White Sox offense in the first half of the game was entirely Paul Konerko, he contributed the only 2 hits for the home squad heading into the 6th inning. At that point Kevin Youkilis stepped in and hit a line drive HR into the Sox bullpen to knot the game at 1. It was Youk’s third homerun in two days and his eighth as a member of the proper Sox.
Nate Jones, who pitched Friday and Saturday for the Sox was called upon once again to contribute 2 more innings. It seems a lot to ask of the rookie, but he did manage to survive those 2 frames allowing only a single run despite handing out 4 hits and a walk.
With Haren out of the game for the 7th, Flowers was pulled in favor of A.J. Pierzynski to bat with a runner on first. A.J. responded by hitting his 21st HR of the year bringing his homerun streak to 5 consecutive games and the score to 3-2 good guys. An insurance run later, Addison Reed: Closer notched his 19th save of the year in support of a 5th vultured win for Nate Jones.
Plus: Big hits late. A.J.’s go-ahead HR was huge and punctuated an attack on the Angels bullpen after Dan Haren kept the Sox in check all game. Alexei also added to the tally with a triple scoring Ray Olmedo, who made his White Sox debut.
Minus: With all the health problems experienced by the White Sox this season, it’s not encouraging to see a pitcher depart the game with an ailment of any sort. Fortunately, Liriano’s injury isn’t likely to be serious and hopefully he shouldn’t miss any time as a result.
Player of the Game
A.J. Pierzynski – .362 Win Probability added