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07/12/08 12:20 AM ET
Floyd wild as White Sox drop one
Offense can't overcome deficit after starter walks seven
By Shawn Shroyer / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- While his teammates took their postgame showers and dressed to retire for the night, Gavin Floyd strolled into the clubhouse with a handful of shopping bags from what appeared to be a Texas Rangers gift shop. Floyd had his chance to shower and dress much earlier Friday night, exiting after 2 2/3 innings and seven free passes, as his White Sox dropped the first of a three-game series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, 7-2. "You come to this ballpark with that club and don't throw strikes, you have to get ready to go, because you'll be in the shower quick," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He wasn't around the plate, and he got the soap pretty quick." Five batters into the first inning, Floyd was receiving his first mound visit from pitching coach Don Cooper, having just walked David Murphy to load the bases. He bounced back, striking out Brandon Boggs on three pitches to get out of the inning, but that was the highlight of his night. Floyd served up a solo home run in the second, then fell apart completely in the third inning. The White Sox starter was charged with five runs in the third, supplementing the Rangers' three hits in the inning with four walks. Floyd's fourth walk forced in a run, and precipitated his exit from the game. In his season-low 2 2/3 innings, Floyd surrendered a season-high six runs, and his seven walks allowed were a career high. Floyd never appeared to have command of any of his pitches, but he said he felt fine coming into the game. "Two times this year, I've come out of the bullpen feeling good, and then I wound up pitching the exact opposite," Floyd said. "I was into it throughout the time I was out there. Things just kind of got away from me instead of me slowing everything down." Floyd's fifth loss of the season reduced Chicago's lead in the American League Central over Minnesota to 1 1/2 games. As poorly as Floyd pitched, his offense was just as weak against Texas starter Luis Mendoza. Back-to-back doubles by A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin in the fourth were the closest Chicago came to mounting an attack against Mendoza. The White Sox got one run out of that, but Quentin ran into an inning-ending double play tagging up on Jim Thome's flyout to left. Mendoza lasted a career-high six innings and fanned a career-best eight batters. "I know with their lineup, I have to try to stay ahead and throw all my pitches," said Mendoza, who gave up eight runs in his previous appearance. "I was more aggressive this time." Other than a Thome home run in the seventh, his 17th, the Chicago bats flailed away the rest of the game. The White Sox struck out 11 times in all and collected only five hits. Chicago is now 4-15 this season when tallying fewer than six hits. Paul Konerko, who lined out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to end the game, struck out a team-high three times in the game, while Orlando Cabrera and Nick Swisher were close behind with two apiece. If there was a hero of the night for the White Sox, it was without a doubt D.J. Carrasco, who was making his first Major League appearance since Sept. 29, 2005. Carrasco, promoted to the big league club on Wednesday when Bobby Jenks was placed on the disabled list, put forth a performance about as clutch as any of Jenks' this season. His 5 1/3-inning outing was the longest relief appearance by a White Sox pitcher this season and the longest of his career. "It's good to give the bullpen a rest," Carrasco said. "I know a lot of guys have been throwing a lot." Carrasco walked the first batter he faced in the third after inheriting a bases-loaded jam, but from there on, he allowed only one more batter to score. That walk was his only one of the night, and he struck out five. "Carrasco can be the highlight of the whole month," Guillen said. "He gave us a chance to win for the next two days. He was outstanding, saving the bullpen the way he did."
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.