White Sox enjoy much-needed laugher
Guillen wins No. 500 as South Siders cruise past Boston
CHICAGO -- Friday night's offensive outburst at U.S. Cellular Field by no means signified that the White Sox officially were back in the American League pennant race.
After all, even with a third straight victory in a 12-2 pasting against the Wild Card-leading Red Sox, the South Siders have yet to gain a game in the AL Central on the first-place Tigers, who remained seven games in front with a fourth consecutive win over the Rays.
What Friday's showing did mean, however, was that everyone in a White Sox uniform could take a much-needed breather, if only for an evening, during what has been a tough couple of weeks. It also meant that White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen could celebrate his 500th career victory as manager of the South Siders with a tad more ease than most contests.
"You give the coaching staff a little relaxation for the first time in five months," Guillen said, "and hopefully they continue to do that."
Before this recent three-game winning streak, the White Sox had lost nine of 10 games, falling 4 1/2 games further behind the Tigers. But they played on Friday like they had a short memory of their missteps.
The White Sox pounded out 20 hits, their most in a game since May 25 against the Angels, when they recorded 24. They batted around twice by the fourth inning and produced 16 hits in the game's first 12 outs.
"To play such a good team like the Red Sox and really come out with the bats exploding, it seems like forever since we've scored a bunch of runs, and tonight was a good sign," White Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham said.
The South Siders got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning when Mark Kotsay parked a pitch from Red Sox starter Paul Byrd into the right-field bullpen, a two-run shot that scored Paul Konerko and put the White Sox ahead, 2-0. Chicago tallied four hits in the inning, but that frame was relatively tame compared to the two that followed. The White Sox (67-69) batted around in both the third and fourth innings, scoring five runs on six hits in each.
In the third, the White Sox pumped six hits around the diamond in the first seven batters off Byrd (1-1). Beckham led off the third with a triple to center field, his first career three-bagger. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a single to right field on the first pitch from Byrd, scoring Beckham to put the White Sox ahead, 3-0.
The final carnage came five batters later when Alexei Ramirez singled to center, plating both Kotsay and Chris Getz for a 7-0 lead. Kotsay and Getz had singled and doubled, respectively, earlier in the inning. Ramirez's blow proved to be the last hitter for Byrd, who exited the contest after just 2 1/3 innings. Byrd surrendered seven runs on 10 hits.
Kotsay and Pierzynski each finished with three hits. Getz, who is hitting .275, finished the game with four hits, matching his career high.
"I think the baseball gods were looking out for me," said Getz, who didn't especially crush any of his four. "Let's be honest."
When Scott Podsednik ripped a two-run single down the right-field line in the bottom of the fourth off Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa, he became the ninth and final member of the White Sox starting lineup to register a base hit. It was the 16th hit for the White Sox overall.
White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia (1-2) was the beneficiary of the offensive support, picking up his first victory of the season in four starts, allowing one run on seven hits in six innings of work.
"He's been great," Beckham said of Garcia's return to the team. "One thing I've noticed, he's really picked up his pace on the mound. The first time he was out there, it took him awhile between pitches. But now he's rapid-fire almost and it helps us as a defense, and he's getting out, making them put it in play, and we're backing him up, so I can't say enough about him."
The game became so out of hand that Boston manager Terry Francona subbed seven position players into the contest in the bottom of the fifth inning with the Red Sox (78-56) already trailing, 12-1. It was the most runs the White Sox had scored since a 14-4 victory against the Yankees on Aug. 1.
With a comfortable lead, the White Sox sent in rookie Daniel Hudson in the seventh to pitch in mop-up duty and make his Major League debut. Hudson responded by throwing two innings of scoreless relief, striking out one.
"It's pretty crazy going out there for the first time," Hudson said. "You have an adrenaline rush and you try to keep that in the back of your head and go out and throw strikes, especially being up so big."
In the ninth, Hudson gave way to reliever Jhonny Nunez, who induced a popup to second base from Alex Gonzalez for the final out to secure Guillen's 500th victory.
"I feel proud," Guillen said. "I think not that many people got that opportunity over the years to have that. I think it's all about the players. The players are going to make you a good manager or a bad manager. I've had pretty good ballclubs in my career."
Jesse Temple is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.