07/02/08 12:59 AM ET
Two-run 10th extends win streak
Ramirez homers, Cabrera drives in one as Chicago rallies
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
And before Cabrera delivered a single to center to score Dewayne Wise with the deciding run in a 3-2 victory, the White Sox sixth straight win, manager Ozzie Guillen predicted the hit was coming.
At least Guillen made that particular claim during his postgame press conference.
"I was talking with [bench coach] Joey [Cora] during that at-bat, and I said that I remember this kid in Montreal and he was the best clutch hitter I had ever seen," said Guillen of his dugout conversation with two outs in the 10th. "Joey said he did it in Anaheim, too. All of a sudden, he got the base hit."
Cabrera produced the team's fifth last-at-bat victory of the season, getting the big hit off of Joe Borowski (1-3). But Cabrera certainly did not stand alone in the winner's circle for the White Sox (48-35) on this night.
Cleveland (37-47) took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 10th on Casey Blake's solo home run to left off Matt Thornton. After singles from Ryan Garko and Kelly Shoppach put runners on first and second with two outs, Guillen opted to go to rookie right-hander Adam Russell to face Franklin Gutierrez.
In Russell's fourth career appearance, he fanned Gutierrez and then watched as his first Major League victory arrived.
"We cannot rely on the same guys every day," Guillen said. "With Russell, I just took a chance with him. That's the way you start learning [how] to pitch in the big leagues."
Borowski set down Joe Crede and Jermaine Dye rather easily to start the bottom of the 10th, before falling behind with two pitches outside the strike zone thrown to Alexei Ramirez. The Cuban Missile found liftoff on the next pitch, lofting a drive into the left-field stands for his sixth home run and a 2-2 tie.
Left fielder Ben Francisco looked as if he had a shot to haul in Ramirez's towering fly ball. But Francisco ran into the wall and, in turn, ran out of room.
"Until he jumped and the ball landed, I wasn't sure," said a smiling Ramirez through interpreter Ozney Guillen. "I was just looking to make contact and the count was in my favor. I knew I hit it hard, but I hit it so high that I wasn't sure."
"Cuban Missile is making a lot of adjustments right away," Guillen added. "You can pitch him a different way, then late in the game, he looks for a pitch to drive. He's [gotten] the big RBIs for us all year long."
|"Cuban Missile is making a lot of adjustments right away. You can pitch him a different way, then late in the game, he looks for a pitch to drive. He's [gotten] the big RBIs for us all year long."|
|-- manager Ozzie Guillen|
Much like the storyline of 2005, all 25 men on the White Sox are contributing to their winning ways.
"Pinch-hitting is one thing I know I have to do," Wise said. "If I get a hit, I know my job is to try to steal a base. Ozzie already has shown confidence in me before, so I was relaxed and just looking for a good pitch to hit."
"If we want to win, that's what we have to do," added Guillen of getting contributions from his entire roster.
Tuesday's contest primarily played out as a pure pitchers' duel between John Danks and Cliff Lee, with each pitcher allowing one run over eight innings. Danks, who yielded a home run to Shoppach on the first pitch of the sixth, matched career highs with eight strikeouts and by working eight innings.
Lee, meanwhile, allowed Ramirez's sacrifice fly in the second and nothing more, making for a little greater challenge than usual for the White Sox southpaw Danks.
"You know who you're going up against," said Danks, who walked one, threw 63 of his 98 pitches for strikes and lowered his ERA to 2.50. "Cliff Lee has been the best pitcher in the American League all year. I knew that I was one pitch away, you know, to give them a one-run lead. ... Unfortunately, I gave the run back, but the offense picked us up."
Danks celebrated in the clubhouse with reliever Scott Linebrink, who pitched a perfect ninth, when Ramirez tied the game. They were still there when Cabrera came through two batters later, missing Wise getting nailed by a Toby Hall shaving cream pie sneak attack during the post-celebration interview.
It's all fun and games on the South Side of Chicago right now, as the White Sox maintained their 2 1/2-game lead over the Twins in the American League Central with their eighth straight home win, and dropped the Tigers to six games behind. It's a different key contributor every night for the White Sox, and Tuesday ultimately belonged to Cabrera -- Guillen's version of Mr. Clutch.
"Everybody did their part, and the pitching was great," Cabrera said. "You just get lucky sometimes. You know, you get a good pitch and you put a good swing and the ball fell. I just got a good pitch to hit today."
"Anytime you can win a game late, it's fun," Danks added. "At no point, even when we were down in the 10th, did we think we were out of the game."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.