07/23/09 12:32 AM ET
White Sox come back in Torres' debut
Righty not credited with victory, but impresses vs. Rays
By David Just / Special to MLB.com
Torres, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Charlotte prior to the game, impressed his teammates and coaches with six strong innings. He surrendered three runs on six hits and three walks.
It was all White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had asked of him.
Guillen often stresses the ability to have a short memory, and it was that quality in Torres that the skipper found so impressive.
"He got hit a couple of times and went back and faced the next hitter like nothing happened," Guillen said. "If you have that attitude and that state of mind to not let those things in the last at-bat bother you, you've got a great chance to pitch in the big leagues."
The right-hander gave up a pair of home runs, a solo shot to Pat Burrell to lead off the fourth, and a two-run blast off the bat of Gabe Gross in the sixth.
"After [the home runs], I just kept trying to attack the zone," Torres said. "All you can do is attack the zone. Whatever happens after that, happens. You try to limit the mistakes and you try not to make mistakes that go over the fence."
Torres exited the game trailing, 3-1, unable to earn a win thanks to an absent offense. Rays starter James Shields gave up just four hits in his 6 2/3 innings, and the White Sox couldn't get anything going until he was relieved in the bottom of the seventh.
Shields walked Gordon Beckham with two outs and was then replaced in favor of Randy Choate. The southpaw gave up an infield single to Scott Podsednik, and both runners advanced on shortstop Jason Bartlett's throwing error.
Rays manager Joe Maddon turned to submariner Chad Bradford next, but Bradford felt lower back stiffness while warming up and was replaced by Dan Wheeler (3-3) without ever facing a hitter.
Alexei Ramirez, who struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning the night before, found himself facing a similar situation. This time, though, he came through.
Ramirez lined Wheeler's 3-2 pitch into center field, and B.J. Upton took a few steps in before realizing how hard the ball was hit. The ball sailed over Upton's head for a two-out game-tying triple.
"They play a shallow outfield," said Jermaine Dye, who watched the play from the on-deck circle. "When I saw [Upton] break in I knew it was going to be tough for him to get back. It was a great swing on Alexei's part. He was out front. Any outfielder would have done that; the first step is always in when you see a batter reach out like that."
"It was just a slider, just maybe it caught too much of the plate," Wheeler added. "He got too much wood. I was trying to get it down a little bit. He squared it up pretty good. You've got to make a better pitch there. Even with Dye on deck, I feel like I can make a good pitch on 3-2."
Dye then hit an RBI single to center to give the White Sox their first lead of the game, which Matt Thornton held on to in two scoreless innings of work. He earned his first save of the season.
With Detroit's 2-1 loss to Seattle, the White Sox now find themselves just one game back of first in the American League Central.
D.J. Carrasco (3-0) picked up the win with his scoreless inning contribution. After a bullpen collapse gave way to a Rays win on Tuesday, Ramirez was sure glad to see the tables turned.
"Obviously, we're playing a great team, but we're also playing really well," Ramirez said through a translator. "Situations like last night happen, and we just couldn't deliver. It felt good doing what we did today."
Torres had history working against him in his quest to pick up career win No. 1. The last 10 White Sox pitchers making their debuts as starters combined to go 0-5 with a 9.74 ERA. The last White Sox pitcher to earn the win in his debut was Kip Wells on Aug. 2, 1999, at Detroit.
Torres was glad to have pleased the rest of the clubhouse, but he proved something to the one person that matters most.
"The only person you've got to prove things to for the most part is yourself," Torres said. "I'm just happy to get out there and get the first win out of the way. I don't know what's going to happen or where I'm going to fall in terms of pitching. I'm just happy to go out and throw and keep my team in it."
David Just is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.