Sorry I missed the KC series; I spent all of my usual Internet time doing work.
Game 1 (Final Score: 5-7, Sox win)
This looked like a pretty even pitching match-up on paper, which is why the games are played. Hernandez quickly made the game a mismatch when he gave Inge a delicious pitch to drive and Inge parked it in the left field seats (1-0). Douglass was successful once again on the mound and surrendered his only run in the third on a sacrifice by Podsednik. He surrendered a lead off double to Crede and had a runner on third with one out after Uribe’s groundout. So the Sox traded the second out to tie the game and Douglass struck out Iguchi (1-1).
Hernandez helped the visitors to a big lead in the fifth. Happily the Tigers did it with only one extra base hit; Sadly, they only had one extra base hit in the inning. Rodriguez got things started with a groundout but Monroe took first on a five pitch walk and third on Infante’s single. Logan’s single plated Monroe and he took second on the double steal with Infante (2-1). Inge’s deep fly went for a run, Guillen walked on four pitches, Shelton hit a big double that scored Logan but Guillen made the third out at home (4-1).
Douglass was relieved in the seventh by Spurling and he greeted Konerko with a fat pitch that went for a solo homer (4-2). With one out,
Spurling looked shaky after a double by Dye and single by Pierzynski but Trammell stayed with him. This will go down in history as a poor decision since Spurling surrendered the lead on back-to-back homers by Crede and Uribe; Then Rodney was put in as relief (4-6). The inning ended on Pudge’s second caught stealing of the game but the damage was done. Both teams added a run on solo shots in the eighth and ninth by Thomas and Rodriguez respectively (5-7). My hat is off to Rodriguez who continues to deliver extra base hits in the ninth inning.
OK, Trammell botched the pitching in the seventh. Yes, I realize he’s done it before and will continue to do so – judging from the number of times this comes up – and it will hurt the team again. However, the double steal call made a bad situation worse for the Sox in the fifth and he deserves credit for that as well. I’m still satisfied with his performance and not prepared to go looking for some schlub that probably won’t perform better, will cost more, and won’t bring the good feelings of nostalgia.
Game 2 (Final Score: 7-1, Tigers win)
This pitching match looked to and did favor the Tigers. Bonderman looked really good in the meager four innings I was able to watch; He worked both sides of the plate with all his pitches, kept the fastball low but snuck it up when needed, and had some very good hitters baffled. I especially enjoyed the high fastball he threw to Iguchi on a 2-0 count in the bottom of the third with two on and one out that moved away from him late. That Weaver trade is starting to look really exceptional and will only get better if German masters his control problems. It makes me feel giddy to think that Dombrowski pulled a steal like this off with the team’s only tradable commodity at the time and it involved both the Yankees and Athletics. All that has to happen now is have the team keep him when he comes out of arbitration and the big money comes calling.
After watching his team flail at the ball in the first (three strikeouts!), Bonderman got into a spot of trouble in the bottom half. Iguchi took a one out walk and third when Rodriguez’s throw to second went into the outfield on the stealing attempt. With the heart of the order up, Bonderman got the other two outs he needed and kept the game scoreless. The Tigers took advantage of Contreras and the scoreless game in the second with Ordonez starting the inning with a single. He watched the first two outs pass him by before Monroe lofted a soft single and Infante took both men home with home on his three run homer (3-0).
Bonderman and Contreras traded scoreless halves until the bottom of the fifth when Uribe had Pierzynski on third after a lead off double and groundout. He plated Pierzynski with the second consecutive groundout of the inning and Podsednik ended it with the third (3-1). The Tigers responded in the top of the sixth to this provocation and abused Contreras for four runs. Shelton and Ordonez went with back-to-back doubles, Young singled and took second on the throw, and Rodriguez and Monroe hit back-to-back doubles and the team had a huge lead (7-1). Bonderman dominated the Sox for the rest of the game and Dingman came in throwing fire in the ninth, striking out two to end the game.
Game 3 (Final Score: 8-6, Tigers win)
The starting pitching in the rubber match looked to favor the Sox since Garcia has been virtually unbeatable in day games and Robertson can only get runs when he bats them in. Instead, the Tigers scored plenty of runs with help from the Sox and won the series and moved one game closer to .500.
The Tigers produced two runs on three hits in the first: Two singles and a Shelton one out two run homer than brought Inge home (2-0). This bit of efficiency stands in stark contrast to the many other hits the Tigers produced and didn’t turn into runs. Iguchi cut the visitors’ lead in the bottom half and then the offenses took a couple of innings to rest up for the late game fireworks (2-1).
Two runs scored in the fifth and sixth due to White Sox errors. Inge scored from first after walking on Guillen’s single when Rowand’s throw from center hit him in the back (3-1). Rowand later earned the run back when he scored on Uribe’s single in the bottom half (3-2). Rodriguez scored from third after doubling and advancing on a groundout when Garcia bounced a pitch in front of Widger that went back to the wall (4-2). In the bottom of the seventh Widger picked up Garcia’s mistake with a solo homer off Robertson (4-3).
Rodney pitched a great half inning and the Tigers came up to bat in the top of the ninth nursing a one run lead. Infante smacked the second pitch he saw from Garcia for a solo homer and the inning was off at a run (5-3). Logan singled, Politte relieved Garcia, Inge struck out, and Guillen singled, setting the plate for Shelton to feast. Shelton hit the 2-0 pitch for an RBI single and Ordonez followed him on first with a walk (6-3). After another pitching change and with the bases loaded, Young finally did something for the first time in about a half dozen games, plating two runners with his single (8-3).
Farnsworth replaced Rodney even though this wasn’t a save situation to end the game in the ninth. Things didn’t go as planned. He walked the first two batters he faced and was staring down Rowand with runners on second and third and only one out away. Rowand used the second out to score a run so it looked like Farnsworth was in good shape but he walked his third batter of the inning (8-4). Uribe stepped into the box and Farnsworth blew him away, getting him to an 0-2 count, but Uribe smacked the third pitch for a two run single and I honestly wasn’t sitting comfortably any more (8-6). Crede singled, Farnsworth was relieved, and Dingman finally closed out the game, getting Iguchi to weakly hit the ball back to him.