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08/29/07 1:20 AM ET
White Sox lose battle of 'pens in Texas
MacDougal surrenders go-ahead run in eighth to Rangers
By Drew Davison / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen has seen it all season. And, as frustrating as it is for him, his team did it again on Tuesday night against the Rangers. The White Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth inning of a tie ballgame and -- like the entire season -- were unable to score a run, leading an eventual loss to the Rangers, 4-3, before 20,261 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. "It's crazy," Guillen said. "We come in scoring position and we have our worst at-bats. It's not just today, we've been doing that all season." The White Sox .244 average with runners in scoring position is a far cry from their .307 mark last year. It's a major factor as they continue their free fall in last place of the American League Central. Jim Thome, who earlier blasted his 494th career home run, led off with a single in the eighth inning, followed by a Paul Konerko walk before Jermaine Dye reached on a hit by pitch. But Juan Uribe grounded into a fielder's choice at home plate, followed by Danny Richar grounding into an inning-ending double play. That was the pivotal moment in Tuesday's game, sending the South Siders to their 14th loss in their last 17 games. "After [Wes Littleton] came in and hit Jermaine, he stood up like a man and got a ground ball," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He kept his composure, came back and made a good pitch to Uribe. He did exactly what he's suppose to." "We need to get something going [in the eighth] so we can finish it off," Guillen said. "Or the other team is going to." The Rangers, the worst team in the AL West, did just that in the bottom half of the inning. White Sox reliever Mike MacDougal (1-4) surrendered the game-winning hit to Marlon Byrd in the eighth. Michael Young reached on a single to center and advanced to second on a wild pitch, before scoring on Byrd's hit. The previous runs were all scored by home runs in the first seven innings. Not too surprising, considering the White Sox starting rotation allows the second-most home runs in the AL and Chicago's offense has hit the third-most in the league. Konerko gave Chicago an early two-run advantage with a shot to right off Rangers starter Kason Gabbard. Thome added a solo blast in the third inning to move just six shy of joining the coveted 500-home run club. Gabbard entered the game with a 2-0 record and 0.64 ERA in two career starts against the White Sox. They put up three runs against him over 4 2/3 innings, but were shut down by the Rangers bullpen. Texas relievers Mike Wood, John Rheinecker, Littleton and Joaquin Benoit closed out the final 4 1/3 innings untouched. Littleton picked up his first victory of the season after getting out of the eighth inning. Chicago starter Gavin Floyd, who was making his fifth start, surrendered two home runs, allowing the Rangers to even the game at 3. Ian Kinsler hit a solo home run in the third inning and Gerald Laird sent Floyd's curveball to the left-field seats in the fourth inning to bring in two runs. Outside of those two home runs, Floyd pitched effectively lasting six innings with four strikeouts and two walks. "He threw the ball real well," Guillen said. "He was good enough for us to win the game." Floyd was impressive, getting out of a couple jams. In the second, with runners on second and third, he struck out Laird. In the fifth, when the Rangers put runners on first and second, he got Byrd to ground into an inning-ending double play. "I felt strong," Floyd said. "I felt I was able to throw any of my pitches for strikes. I just tried to bear down and make pitches to get ground balls. When things happen, you just got to eliminate it and move on to the next pitch." In another troubling loss for the White Sox, the brightest spot was Thome, who continued his march to become the 23rd member of the 500-home run club. He belted his 22nd of the season, a 422-foot shot to right-center off Gabbard. Thome is now in sole possession of the 23rd spot on the all-time list, passing Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff. Thome, who was mired in a 4-for-22 (.182) slump over his past six games, went 2-for-2 with two walks. His two walks gave him 1,444 for his career, moving him in a tie with Eddie Matthews for 20th on the all-time list.
Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.