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White Sox finally get past .500, but Ken Williams says team hard to read

Sox batter Paul Konerko advances third base fly ball by Carlos QuentSox two-run 5th inning during series opener Tuesday August

Sox batter Paul Konerko advances to third base on a fly ball by Carlos Quentin in the Sox two-run 5th inning during the series opener Tuesday August 16, 2011 with the Chicago White Sox hosting the Cleveland Indians. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Juan Pierre's single in 14th lifts Sox to 8-7 win over Indians
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Updated: November 16, 2011 1:29AM



The White Sox went into their important American League Central matchup with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night with eight wins in their last 10 games. Their 49-38 record since May 7 was the fourth-best mark in the AL.

But general manager Ken Williams still isn’t sold. He’s like every other Sox fan who feels good about his team one day but not so good the next. He wants to feel great every day, but he just can’t do it.

It was easy to see why after watching the Sox win 8-7 in 14 innings Tuesday night. Juan Pierre’s one-out single to left scored Gordon Beckham, who had doubled.

“Listen, I wish I did,’’ Williams said before his team attempted to top the .500 mark for the first time since April 15. “But I’m not going to tell you something that I don’t believe. I don’t have a good feel after 120 games. And it’s just been inconsistent play. I’m still very optimistic. Again, if we start to click, even just a little bit, we can put together a heck of a run. But the fact of the matter is we haven’t, so I can’t assume it’s going to happen.’’

With 42 games left and a 3½ game deficit to make up on the Detroit Tigers — who beat Minnesota behind ace Justin Verlander — and two to make up on the Indians, the Sox and closer Sergio Santos couldn’t hold a one-run lead in the ninth, then left runners in scoring position in the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th innings.

The Sox 11th was the worst of them. Alex Rios led off with a triple against Chris Perez and did not score after Alexei Ramirez grounded out to third, and Brent Lillibridge (intentionally walked) was doubled off first on Tyler Flowers’ liner to third.

Rios’ triple was the Sox fifth, the most they’ve hit in one game since 1920. Alejandro De Aza hit two RBI triples, Paul Konerko extended his hitting streak to 12 games with four hits, Ramirez tripled in a run, Tyler Flowers had a double and a triple and Pierre hit his second home run.

Santos allowed a one-out walk pinch-hitter Ezequiel Carrera in the ninth, then watched a bloop single fall in front of center fielder Rios — a late defensive replacement — to put runners on the corners for the Indians. The tying run scored on a grounder to Beckham near the
infield grass when Beckham
couldn’t glove it, settling for a force at second as Carrera scored the
tying run.

“All I can expect is the effort and intensity to be there every day,’’ Williams said. “We’ve got 42 games left. It’s not hard to keep your intensity level up with 42 games. That’s what I expect, and hopefully we can get on a roll and some guys can get some confidence back maybe that they haven’t had thus far.’’

What you see in the Sox right now is what you get. Williams said he doesn’t expect to make any waiver deals as the Tigers did with outfielder Delmon Young. He doesn’t see troubled Cub Carlos Zambrano “as a fit” for the Sox, either.

“I’ve made no secret about it for quite a while that we are limited from a payroll standpoint at this point and time,’’ said Williams, who trimmed payroll by dealing away Edwin Jackson at the deadline while adding to his bullpen by getting Jason Frasor. “We haven’t earned our fans’ patronage enough to put us in that position, and that’s nobody’s fault except our own fault. Anything that would come across right now, even if it were appealing from a talent standpoint, we are not in a position to be able to do it. Again, that’s our fault. That’s nobody’s fault except mine, my staff’s and the people in uniform.’’

Sox starter Gavin Floyd, who had nine strikeouts, couldn’t get out of the sixth and left with no chance to win after Will Ohman walked two in relief, including Jason Donald with the bases loaded to make it 5-5. It was one of eight walks by Sox pitchers.

The White Sox went into their important American League Central matchup with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night with eight wins in their last 10 games. Their 49-38 record since May 7 was the fourth-best mark in the AL.

But general manager Ken Williams still isn’t sold. He’s like every other Sox fan who feels good about his team one day but not so good the next. He wants to feel great every day but he just can’t do it.

“Listen, I wish I did,’’ Williams said before the Sox faced the visiting Indians and right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez in their attempt to top the .500 mark for the first time since April 15. “But I’m not going to tell you something that I don’t believe. I don’t have a good feel after 120 games. And it’s just been inconsistent play. I’m still very optimistic. Again, if we start to click, even just a little bit, we can put together a heck of a run. But the fact of the matter is we haven’t, so I can’t assume it’s going to happen.’’

With 42 games left and a 3½ game deficit to make up on the Detroit Tigers — who beat Minnesota behind ace Justin Verlander — and two to make up on the Indians, the Sox jumped on Jimenez for three runs in the first four innings. Carlos Quentin drove in a run with a single, Alejandro De Aza knocked one in with a triple and Juan Pierre hit his second homer of the season. The latter two runs came with two out.

In an inspiring display of heart, a sore-legged Paul Konerko hustled out a double in the fifth, tagged up and slid hard into third on Quentin’s fly to center and scored on a two-strike triple by Alexei Ramirez that gave the Sox a 4-2 lead. The Sox dugout leaped to greet Konerko after he scored.

“All I can expect is the effort and intensity to be there every day,’’ Williams said. “We’ve got 42 games left. It’s not hard to keep your intensity level up with 42 games. That’s what I expect and hopefully we can get on a roll and some guys can get some confidence back maybe that they haven’t had thus far.’’

What you see in the Sox right now is what you get. Williams said he doesn’t expect to make any waiver deals as the Tigers did with outfielder Delmon Young. He doesn’t see troubled Cub Carlos Zambrano “as a fit” for the Sox, either.

“I’ve made no secret about it for quite a while that we are limited from a payroll standpoint at this point and time,’’ said Williams, who trimmed payroll by dealing away Edwin Jackson at the deadline while adding to his bullpen by getting Jason Frasor. “We haven’t earned our fans’ patronage enough to put us in that position and that’s nobody’s fault except our own fault. Anything that would come across right now, even if it were appealing from a talent standpoint, we are not in a position to be able to do it. Again, that’s our fault. That’s nobody’s fault, except mine, my staff’s and the people in uniform.’’

Williams said he is optimistic before every game.

“I only get surprised at the end of the game where it’s again, we haven’t supported our pitching staff,’’ he said. “That’s my surprise. I keep waiting for it to come, waiting for it to happen.’’

Tyler Flowers, in his first game as the Sox’ No. 1 catcher with A.J. Pierzynski on the disabled list, doubled in Ramirez in the fifth to make it 5-2 Sox and knock out Jimenez. It was the Sox’ third two-out RBI.

But Floyd, who had nine strikeouts, couldn’t get out of the sixth and left with no chance to win after Will Ohman walked two in relief, including Jason Donald with the bases loaded to make it 5-5.

De Aza tripled into the right field corner, beating Shin-Soo Chin’s throw by an eyelash in the Sox sixth. It scored Brent Morel (double) and gave the Sox a 6-5 lead. De Aza scored on Konerko’s single to center.



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