Saturday, August 12, 2006

Showdown Series Part Deux, Episode Two

White Sox 4, Tigers 3.

SOX STANDINGS: 69-46, 6.5 Back

Two weeks ago the Sox jumped in the way back machine, time-warping into September of 2004. Now it seems they're playing as well and as loose as October 2005.

For the fifth straight game, Comiskey rocked in a high-stakes, late-season game against a fellow playoff competitor. And for the third time in five games, the Sox emerged victorious by one run. They took advantage of costly errors. They delivered clutch hits. They played good defense (at least, far more often than they played bad defense). They got a serviceable effort from their starter. And Bobby Jenks closed the door.

Mark Buehrle was on fire to start the game, striking out seven in the first four innings. He couldn't bail himself out in the fifth after Juan Uribe slow-charged a grounder and failed to convert the double play, allowing the Tigers to plate 3 runs. That's okay though, because Kenny Rogers couldn't pick up his D either, as they made far more costly blunders. Carlos Guillen fumbled away a slow roller from Sandy Alomar. Marcus Thames misplayed a line-shot single from Brian Anderson. Brandon Inge threw away a sure-fire twin killing which led directly to the decisive run.

So what do we make of these last two games? All of a sudden the offense is putting together some solid performances, Contreras pitched like an ace, Buerhle showed marked improvement and the bullpen retired all 9 batters they faced. It helps to remember who's still chasing who, however. The Sox could really use a sweep tomorrow and gather momentum, especially when you consider they next welcome in Kansas City for 4 while Detroit heads to Boston.

TOMORROW: 1:05 CT, Freddy Garcia vs. Zach Miner.

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