Tough to solve: Freddy García took advantage of favorable pitching conditions and earned the victory with eight excellent innings. (@whitesox)
Both starting pitchers performed admirably, and the wind was blowing in sharply most of the afternoon. Combine the two, and you get a pitchers’ dual, and that is what we witnessed today. Fortunately, the White Sox managed to score once more than Cleveland in a 2-1 victory.
In the bottom of the first, the White Sox survived a scare, as power-hitting DH Travis Hafner crushed a pitch from Freddy García. On most days, that ball would have cleared the fence for a two-run homer. However, with the wind blowing in, it was merely a deep flyout to left fielder Scott Podsednik.
García also kept Cleveland off the board in the second, but in the third, Cleveland broke the scoreless tie. With a runner on second and two outs, Hafner stepped up to the plate again, and this time, the weather did not hurt him. Hafner hit a sharp ground ball into center field for a single that drove in Coco Crisp for the game’s first run.
Meanwhile, Cleveland starter Kevin Millwood got off to a terrific start. In fact, nobody in a White Sox uniform even reached scoring position until the top of the fifth, and that could hardly be blamed on Millwood. Pablo Ozuna, filling in for Juan Uribe at shortstop, reached on an error and stole second base. But, Millwood worked out of that jam by getting Joe Crede to ground out to preserve the 1-0 lead.
In the sixth, however, the White Sox finally got on the board. Podsednik showed off his wheels once again by leading off with a bunt single. The bunt itself was questionable, as he popped it up to the left of the mound. But, it got over Millwood’s glove, and with his speed, there was no chance of throwing him out. Then, Podsednik stole second rather easily, and he is already 4-for-5 on stolen base attempts this season. After Tadahito Iguchi struck out, DH Carl Everett drove Podsednik home with an RBI single to right.
The seventh inning also brought a good result for the White Sox, and once again, Scott Podsednik played a big role. With two outs and nobody on, Chris Widger and Joe Crede hit back-to-back singles. Then, in a big spot, Podsednik lined a single to center field to drive in Widger and give the White Sox a 2-1 lead.
From that point forward, García ended his day on a very high note, retiring the last 14 batters he faced. As a result, at the end of the eighth inning, the White Sox led by a score of 2-1. García’s final line was the following: eight innings, one run (it was earned), four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. García’s ERA dropped to an excellent 1.93 through his first two starts of the season.
The White Sox failed to add an insurance run in the top of the ninth, as they went down 1-2-3. Luckily, the bullpen got the job done, so there was no need for insurance. In the bottom of the ninth, reliever Damaso Marte walked Hafner but retired the other two he faced. With the tying run on first and two outs, manager Ozzie Guillen called on Shingo Takatsu, and Takatsu struck out Aaron Boone to close things out.
The White Sox improved to 5-2 in the young season, while Cleveland fell to 3-4. On Wednesday (April 13, 2005) evening, the White Sox will play another game at Jacobs Field. This time, José Contreras will start for the White Sox, while Cliff Lee is Cleveland’s probable starter.
Let’s enjoy a couple of shortstop-related trivia questions:
- There are three shortstops in White Sox history with more than 1,500 career hits with the team. Who are they?
- José Valentin was the White Sox’s primary shortstop from 2000-04. Who started for the White Sox at shortstop on Opening Day in 1999?
- Luke Appling, Ozzie Guillen, and Luis Aparicio.
- Mike Caruso.