Broadway dominates in first career start
Rookie throws six impressive innings to pick up win
CHICAGO -- Lance Broadway came into the White Sox clubhouse a full 15 minutes after the final out of Thursday's game still in full uniform and reeking of cheap beer. With a big grin on his face, he stepped in front of a pack of reporters and simply said, "That felt good."
The 24-year-old right-hander had reason to smile. He had just pitched six shutout innings in his first Major League start, helping the White Sox to a 10-0 beating of the Kansas City Royals.
Broadway was impressive for nearly every one of his 97 pitches on Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field. The former first-round Draft pick allowed just two hits, while striking out eight Royals hitters.
He used a range of different pitches, including a newly developed cutter, that kept the Kansas City offense off balance from the start. His eight strikeouts were the most by any White Sox pitcher making his first start since 1988.
"This kid, his presence on the mound is pretty impressive," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He's always laid back. When you're a rookie and you're throwing the slider 3-2, you have confidence. If you throw a slider or a changeup behind in the count, you have confidence."
Broadway spent most of the season with Triple-A Charlotte, before being called up to the big league club on Sept. 4. He made three appearances out of the bullpen, but had not pitched since Sept. 11 before taking the hill on Thursday.
"It is one of those things, even once I threw those first pitches, I still hadn't thrown in 2 1/2 weeks," Broadway said. "Whether it is the Royals or the New York Yankees, it is still a Major League ballclub. I had a little nerves. I had thoughts in the back of my head that I hadn't thrown, so what might happen. After the first couple of pitches it felt good."
Broadway's successful debut as a starter was a good sign for an organization that could be counting on the youngster to contribute in the future. Broadway was the team's top selection in the 2005 Draft out of Texas Christian University and is one of the club's top pitching prospects.
It was an especially heartening performance considering his struggles in the Minors this season. Broadway was just 8-9 as a starter with the Knights and was just 1-3 with a 10.42 ERA in his four starts before joining the White Sox.
"It was frustrating for most of the season," Broadway said. "We worked on a couple of new pitches that I just didn't seem to grasp too quickly. When I did throw them like I was supposed to, I couldn't throw them for strikes. But any pitcher will tell you it's great to go out on a good outing."
The Royals rarely challenged Broadway. When he did find himself in trouble in the second inning after giving up a base hit and a walk, he came back and struck out three hitters in order to escape the jam unscathed.
"He had confidence in what he was doing," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "Anytime a pitcher has confidence in what he is doing and pitches like he did, you have to be encouraged."
Broadway was not afraid to hide his emotions on the hill. A number of times throughout the game, the rookie gave a fist pump as he came off the mound after a strikeout.
"He knew what he was doing out there," Guillen said. "It was fun to watch. His emotion on the mound after the third outs -- people can call it cocky or hot dog, I kind of like that."
Kansas City managed just three hits combined against Broadway and relievers Matt Thornton and Bobby Jenks. The strong pitching effort marked the second straight shutout for the South Siders' staff, which got a complete-game shutout from Jon Garland on Wednesday.
Sox starting pitchers have gone 6-3 with a 2.79 ERA in the last 10 games.
Chicago coupled the strong pitching performances with a rare offensive outburst. The Sox victimized Royals rookie starter Billy Buckner for six runs in his six innings of work and tacked on four more against the bullpen.
Paul Konerko got the offense going early, slugging a three-run home run off of Buckner, his 30th long ball of the season. The Sox first baseman has now hit at least 30 home runs in four consecutive seasons and five times in his career.
With the game already out of hand, Chicago added four insurance runs in the seventh inning. Pierzynski and pinch-hitter Luis Terrero each drove in a pair of runs during the late rally.
The 10-run margin of victory was the largest for the White Sox since they beat Detroit on Aug. 24, 2006, also by a score of 10-0.
Alex Gyr is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.