Mr. Reliable: Juan Uribe went 3-for-4 with a walk, and he delivered a key RBI double early on. (@whitesox)
The White Sox could not finish off the Royals in nine innings, but they finished the job in the 10th in this 3-2 victory.
Things got off to a promising start in the top of the first, when Scott Podsednik led off with a single. John Buck committed catcher’s interference, so Tadahito Iguchi was awarded first base. The great start to the game continued when the Royals made things even harder on themselves, as pitcher Zack Greinke balked the runners over. Suddenly, the White Sox had runners on second and third with no outs. Carl Everett drove Podsednik home with an RBI groundout, but that was all the White Sox could score that inning.
The Royals got that run back in the bottom of the first against starter José Contreras. This happened immediately, as leadoff hitter David DeJesus hit a solo homer to right-center. Fortunately, the White Sox fired right back in the top of the second, as A.J. Pierzynski was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. The next batter, Juan Uribe, drove a liner into the left field corner to drive Pierzynski in to make the score 2-1.
Though the offenses came out firing, this turned out to be a low-scoring game. This was partially due to the recovery of José Contreras after allowing the home run to DeJesus. However, Contreras had to leave this game in the fourth when he pulled the lower hamstring in his right leg. Injuries are always unfortunate, and this one hurt a bit worse than most considering how well Contreras looked after the home run. Contreras reached 97 mph, and he retired all six he faced in the second and third innings, striking out five of them. His final line: third and one-third innings, one run (it was earned), one hit, one walk, and six strikeouts. Let’s hope the injury is not too serious.
Thanks to excellent relief appearances by Cliff Politte and Neal Cotts, the score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the eighth. With a runner on third and two outs, Mike Sweeney came up to bat in a huge spot, and he delivered. Sweeney’s single brought us right back to where we started, as the score was tied once again. Matt Stairs followed with a single to put runners on the corners, but Luiz Vizcaino limited the damage to just one run by retiring 2003 AL Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa.
The Royals had a golden opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, as a one-out double by John Buck put runners on second and third. After an intentional walk to former White Sox Tony Graffanino, the bases were loaded for pinch-hitter Eli Marrero. But, the White Sox caught a huge break from the runner on third, Matt Diaz. On a pitch that got away from Pierzynski, Diaz took a big gamble by trying to score, and he failed. Pierzynski made an excellent play, as he got the ball over to Damaso Marte in time to tag Diaz out. Marte proceeded to strike Marrero out to force the game into extras.
In the 10th, the White Sox finally put their third run on the board. After singles by Jermaine Dye and Juan Uribe, the White Sox had runners on the corners with two outs. Aaron Rowand came up to bat with a chance to give the White Sox the lead, and he did just that. Rowand lined a single into right-center field, and Marte went on to pitch a 1-2-3 10th inning to seal it.
This was the White Sox’s fifth consecutive win, and they improved to 14-4 on the season. That 14-4 record is the best start to a season in franchise history. Meanwhile, the hapless Royals fell to 5-13. The White Sox are seeking a third straight sweep when they take on the Royals tomorrow (April 24, 2005) afternoon. But, let’s look at a couple of questions first:
- In 2003, which White Sox infielder hit three home runs in a game against the Royals?
- Which member of the 2005 White Sox started an All-Star Game for the Royals?
- José Valentin
- Jermaine Dye (2000)