White Sox rally twice to beat Tigers, take three-game lead with 16 left
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org September 17, 2012 10:18PM
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 17: A.J. Pierzynski #12 and Addison Reed #43 of the Chicago White Sox celebrate a win against the Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field on September 17, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Tigers 5-4. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Updated: October 19, 2012 6:18AM
The White Sox refuse to be satisfied with any old win or crushed by any bad defeat.
After their 5-4 victory Monday against the Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field, arguably their biggest win of the season, they turned the page and moved on to Kansas City, where the pesky Royals await them with the intention of spoiling the fun.
But it was hard to get past the magnitude of this one. The first-place Sox knew going into this makeup of a Thursday rainout that the day would end with a three-game lead or a one-game advantage over the second-place Tigers in the American League Central, and three feels so much better with 16 to go.
“Three games up or one game up is a big difference,’’ second baseman Gordon Beckham said. “We wanted to get out in front a little more because they’re a really good team. Every win we can get.’’
The Sox are playing .333 baseball against the Royals, and they play the playoff-contending Los Angeles Angels after that in Anaheim. And there are four games left with the playoff-hungry Tampa Bay Rays at the end of the month, so …
“We have 16 games left? A three-game lead goes away in the next series if we don’t show up and do what we’re capable of,’’ Beckham said. “Until they say they’re out of it, they’re still in it. We have to just keep grinding.’’
The Sox kept grinding in this one when rookie left-hander Jose Quintana fell behind 3-0 in the third inning. Kevin Youkilis and Adam Dunn struck out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning, which took some air out of a half-filled but energetic Cell.
“We got down early but didn’t get down,’’ Beckham said.
The Sox tied it with three runs in the fourth, including a two-run single by center fielder and leadoff man Dewayne Wise against Doug Fister (9-9).
The Tigers took a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning on Delmon Young’s single, but the Sox took the lead for good when Alex Rios broke up a double play and forced a two-run throwing error by second baseman Omar Infante in the fifth.
Relievers Nate Jones (8-0), Donnie Veal, Brett Myers, Matt Thornton and Addison Reed held the Tigers scoreless the rest of the way.
“Those guys took the bull by the horns and shut them down,’’ Paul Konerko said.
Konerko said the win felt like the biggest of the year, especially considering the Sox finished 6-12 against the Tigers.
“When you play a lot of these types of games,’’ Konerko said, ‘‘you feel comfortable, and if you’re lucky to get to the playoffs, it makes you a better playoff team.’’
This one felt like a playoff game.
“It had those kind of implications,’’ Beckham said.
Rios’ hard slide was an indication.
“That was the game,’’ said Dunn, who’s playing through a tender oblique strain. “It goes to show everybody is giving everything they have.’’
The Tigers return home for a 10-game stand, starting with the red-hot Oakland Athletics. If the Sox won one they probably had to, the Tigers needed it even more.
“It’s a two-game swing,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said before the game. “Is it winding down somewhat? Yes. If you look at the overall scenario, it seems like forever till the end of the season because of the simple fact that both teams have to win games.”