Sox rough up Tigers in epic slugfest
Konerko, Dye hit historic homers; Quentin goes yard twice
DETROIT -- One thousand, five hundred and nineteen feet of home runs.
Sixteen hits -- eight of the extra-base variety.
The White Sox (4-3) ultimately were thankful for every last bit of this extreme production during Monday's 10-6 victory over Detroit (4-4) at Comerica Park. They needed this offensive eruption with starting pitcher Gavin Floyd (1-1) taking a walk on the wild side in the opener of this 10-game road trip.
Floyd actually issued seven free passes, throwing just 49 of his 98 pitches for strikes, while allowing six runs on five hits over five innings.
But this is Floyd against Detroit, a situation in which the right-hander has yet to come up on the short end of the score. Floyd improved to 5-0 when facing the Tigers and now has a 3-0 mark at Comerica Park. The right-hander also became the first White Sox pitcher to win a game with at least seven walks since Jon Garland beat Jose Contreras and the Yankees on April 9, 2004, with that same total.
To take this dubious achievement one step further, Floyd became the second pitcher since 1975 to walk seven batters and give up six earned runs and still earn a victory. According to baseball-reference.com, Chris Capuano did the same thing on Sept. 23, 2005, when he walked eight and allowed six earned runs in six innings during a 9-6 win over St. Louis.
Consider Monday's effort a little bit of payback for Floyd, who struck out nine and gave up two runs over seven innings during a loss to the Royals in his first 2009 start Wednesday at U.S. Cellular Field.
"This is what I don't understand about baseball," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen with a laugh in regard to Floyd's Jekyll and Hyde pitching performances. "Gavin threw an unbelievable game his first one and got the loss. ... We were just making fun of him right now. I don't know what happened."
"It's unbelievable. I just really tried to keep our team in the ballgame," Floyd said. "I was, I don't know, it was one of those days where I didn't feel great. It was ugly. Our offense, give credit to our defense and offense, because they kept us in the game."
The White Sox made history with their bats in this contest when Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko launched back-to-back home runs in the second inning off Detroit starter Zach Miner (1-1). The long balls gave each respective player 300 home runs for his career, marking the first time teammates have reached a century mark of 300 home runs or above in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Konerko had four hits, four RBIs and finished a triple short of hitting for the cycle.
Carlos Quentin went deep twice among his three hits, giving the left fielder four home runs in four games. Guillen was as impressed with the five runs that didn't come from the home runs as he was with the long balls.
"Two home runs, three home runs, fine," Guillen said. "But after that, we created more runs, had good at-bats. We weren't chasing bad pitches and took advantage of that. We know we're going to hit. It was just a matter of time."
Monday's victory was the third straight for the White Sox, although it proved costly. Center fielder Dewayne Wise left the game after making a diving, tumbling catch to save two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and was diagnosed with a separated right shoulder. He will be headed to the disabled list and is projected to miss anywhere from six weeks to two months.
Wise's huge catch came with Floyd on the mound, after he had walked Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen with one out. So, Floyd received help from the offense, defense and four innings of scoreless relief combined from D.J. Carrasco, Matt Thornton and Scott Linebrink.
There will be plenty of days where Floyd picks up the rest of his team, based on last year's 17-win effort and his strong showing during Spring Training. On Monday, Floyd was happy to get by with a little help from his friends.
"I felt great coming out of the bullpen and after the first inning, I don't know what happened," Floyd said. "I tried to figure it out and made a couple of adjustments. I had a couple of decent innings and got out of some jams. But it was a battle. It's nice to pitch like that and actually win as a team."
"Maybe because it was so cold, maybe because they can't grip the ball, there are a lot of things that can happen," said Guillen of Floyd, who fanned two. "But he knows he pitched a pretty bad game."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.