White Sox can't subdue Rangers
Vazquez outdone by Padilla; Pierzynski plunked twice
ARLINGTON -- Losing by an 8-0 final usually leaves very little need for postgame chit-chat in regard to the team who didn't score.
Leave it to Ozzie Guillen to challenge the status quo after Texas' shellacking of his White Sox on Wednesday night at Ameriquest Field.
Texas starter Vicente Padilla (6-4) absolutely dominated the White Sox for eight innings, allowing three hits and three walks, while striking out seven. But on at-bats involving A.J. Pierzynski leading off the second and the fourth, Padilla seemed to lose a little of that pinpoint control which led to 70 strikes thrown in his 109 total.
Both first pitches found the back of Pierzynski's right arm, leaving a large welt fastened on Pierzynski's triceps after the game. But the hit-batsmen plotline does not end with these particular encounters.
Sean Tracey replaced White Sox starter Javier Vazquez (7-4) to start the seventh, with Hank Blalock leading off the inning. The first pitch from Tracey sailed low and inside on Blalock, and four pitches later, Blalock grounded out to second baseman Tadahito Iguchi.
The White Sox manager quickly made his way to the mound and replaced the right-handed Tracey with Agustin Montero, another right-handed reliever, with right-handed hitting Mark DeRosa stepping to the plate. Television cameras from the Rangers' broadcast showed an animated and angry Guillen yelling at someone in the White Sox dugout after Tracey departed, and shortly thereafter, showed a distraught Tracey covering his face with his uniform.
Guillen offered up an interesting explanation of the situation after his team's first loss in this four-game series, pointing out that Tracey is one of the organization's prospects and was not intended to be used in mop-up situations. But a source close to the situation confirmed Tracey had been reassigned to Triple-A Charlotte after the game, backed up by his nearly empty locker.
Tracey declined comment, but a second source said apparently he was sent in to do a particular job. It's the sort of responsibility managers can't really talk about without hearing from the league office. As for the Padilla-Pierzynski situation, the White Sox catcher was at a loss as to why he became the right-hander's target.
"I don't know. I don't know what the deal was," said Pierzynski, who had one home run and three hits in eight career at-bats against Padilla prior to Wednesday. "I don't know why he threw two balls right at me. I don't know.
"It seemed like he had pretty good control all night. All of the sudden, he runs two first pitches right at me in the same spot."
Pierzynski went on to explain the feeling of frustration for the White Sox (40-25), who could not retaliate without an ejection after the warnings were issued by home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi. Pierzynski and Guillen both pointed out that if a warning was issued after Pierzynski was hit for a second time, it clearly indicated the perception of intent on Padilla's part.
Texas manager Buck Showalter understood the White Sox anger over Padilla's misguided pitches to their catcher.
"It's unfortunate," Showalter said. "If I was on the other side, I wouldn't be happy either. It's not something you'd like to see happen to anybody."
As for the game itself, Vazquez (7-4) primarily was victimized by the Rangers (35-31) during a four-run third inning. The right-hander put the first two runners on base in the frame, before Michael Young's double-play grounder seemed to get him out of trouble.
But Mark Teixeira and Blalock, who homered leading off the second, followed with back-to-back doubles, scoring two. Kevin Mench and Ian Kinsler each singled home runs after a walk to DeRosa.
"It was frustrating because I got the double play, but then they hit the ball hard and there's nothing you can really say," Vazquez said. "Give them credit. They got some hits when they needed them.
"You try to stay away from crooked numbers as a starting pitcher. I couldn't do that tonight."
Guillen's postgame tale dealing with Tracey partially involved Vazquez. The White Sox manager said that he was debating whether to leave Vazquez in for another inning or take him out with 99 pitches. Tracey was already up and throwing, and Montero didn't have enough time to "get hot" in the bullpen in the 91-degree Texas heat.
Even with the loss, the White Sox still have a chance to win the series with Mark Buehrle on the mound Thursday. They also stayed 1 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the American League Central, with Tampa Bay upending Detroit in 12 innings.
More direct and slightly more detailed information should come forth from the Tracey situation on Thursday, including a pitcher such as left-hander Javier Lopez or right-hander Jeff Farnsworth as a replacement from Charlotte. It was an eventful 10 days for Tracey, who was wild enough on Sunday night against Cleveland that he drew Victor Martinez's ire on a pitch inside after Tracey hit Travis Hafner.
On Wednesday night, it appeared as if Guillen was the angry party in question where Tracey was concerned -- whether the usually forthcoming manager would admit it or not.
"I was telling one of my coaches Montero wasn't ready," said Guillen of his brief but stern lecture caught on television. "That's why I was screaming.
"It was my fault to not get him up quick enough. I got caught deciding about leaving Javy in or not.
"One thing this guy is not is a mop-up guy," added Guillen of Tracey. "I didn't want Tracey in that situation, but Tracey was the one warming up."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.