Apparently, the White Sox’s woes were nothing that a little trip to the Tampa Bay area couldn’t solve. Chicago wins 5-1, their fourth win in a row.
Apparently, the White Sox’s woes were nothing that a little trip to the Tampa Bay area couldn’t solve. They went into Tropicana Field looking like a lost team after having been waxed by the Cubs last weekend, but after Thursday’s 5-1 win, left on an actual four-game winning streak. “There’s two ways (to) look at that - I guess we were just due for some wins, but, yeah, there was no evidence leading up to this series we were going to sweep anybody,” said Paul Konerko, who hit a pair of solo homers Thursday. “But that’s baseball. Things can turn on a dime.” Before anyone says, “But it was the Devil Rays,” keep in mind Tampa Bay went into the series owning four more wins than the Sox this season. “We have never played good in this ballpark,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. Until now, when they updated a few of their “the last time it happened” records. The Sox have won four straight games for the first time since May 9-12, swept a series for the first time since Aug. 11-13 last year and swept a four-game series for the first time since July 29-Aug. 1, 2005. “This was a great four games,” said Sox starter Javier Vazquez (4-5), who threw seven innings of one-run ball and racked up a season-high 10 strikeouts. “We got the win in all four. So this is a start. Hopefully, we continue to play better ball than we have in the past. It will take a team effort to do that, so we have to pitch and hit.” For at least four games, the Sox were clicking on all cylinders. They hit .297 as a team, their starters were 4-0 with a 2.77 ERA, and their bullpen threw 10 scoreless innings in the series. All that helped the Sox make up 2½ games in the American League Central race, cutting their still-monstrous deficit to 12 games. It also helped overshadow the talk about potential free-agent-to-be Mark Buehrle’s future. “I think they block what happens off the field to bringing it on the field,” Guillen said. Konerko’s first homer and Josh Fields’ RBI single in the second gave the Sox a 2-0 lead. Tadahito Iguchi’s fourth-inning solo homer off Scott Kazmir (5-4) made it 3-0. That was all Vazquez needed. The right-hander allowed just one run on Ty Wigginton’s RBI fielder’s choice in the fourth. “Their starting pitching has beat us up the past three nights,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “Vazquez was very sharp.” Konerko’s seventh-inning shot and two scoreless innings by the bullpen sealed the deal. “The hitting, we’ve gotten guys on base, turned the lineup over more,” Konerko said of the team’s recent success. “Even when we don’t score, we’re getting guys on base. We struck out a lot, but at the same time, we’re swinging it, and sometimes that happens when you’re swinging it aggressively.” The Sox did strike out at an alarming rate, tallying at least 10 every night in Tampa Bay - 13 on Thursday - and ensuring the fans of free pizza all four nights, thanks to a promotion at Tropicana Field. “I don’t know how long we can keep getting away with that situation,” said Guillen, whose team has struck out 79 times in its last seven games. “I told the guys, ‘We’re going from pizza to donuts.’ ” The Sox are to begin a three-game series in Kansas City today - where fans get free donuts if the opponents strike out 12 times - with some actual momentum. “Hopefully, we take the best we can and make it as long as we can and try to get back in this thing,” Guillen said. “It’s not going to be easy.” More White Sox coverage is at www.dailysouthtown.com/sports.