Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dunn, Beckham help White Sox beat Indians 8-2

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DETROIT — If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the American League Central.
Or something like that.
Not that the White Sox’ division is the hottest thing going. Their 8-2 victory against Justin Verlander
(12-5) and the Detroit Tigers kept them within five games of the first-place Cleveland Indians and moved them within four of the ­Tigers, who are considered the team to beat.
And the Sox are three games ­under .500.
But that losing-record stuff is in the Sox’ past, they’d like to believe, and what better way to prove it than by beating the AL’s best starting pitcher on the first day of a nine-game road swing through the Central after the All-Star break.
“I told them today in the meeting, ‘It’s all about you, it’s not about me,’ ’’
manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Don’t worry about rumors [or] anything. A lot of rumors out there. If you’re not playing well, of course you’re going to get traded. This is baseball. This is a business. [General manager] Kenny [Williams] is not stupid, [Chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] is not stupid. If you don’t play to potential, well, why not do whatever they have to do. If you play good, believe me, they’re not going to move anybody.’’
Before a sellout crowd at Comerica Park, the play was mostly all good. Gavin Floyd (7-9) gave up two runs (one earned) over 7 2/3 innings to improve to 6-1 lifetime against the Tigers. Two of the Sox’ biggest underachievers of the first half, Adam Dunn and Gordon Beckham, hit bases-loaded two-run singles. Leadoff man Juan Pierre scored Beckham with a squeeze bunt single and scored two runs. The Sox scored five runs with two outs.
“Tonight was huge,’’ Dunn said. “Coming off a four-day break and beating the best pitcher in baseball. That’s a pretty good way to start the second half.’’
There were also flashbacks of the things that put the bad first half Sox. They got one run out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation with Dunn, Carlos Quentin (two RBI) and Alex Rios (0-for-5) coming up in the fifth, the only run scoring on Quentin’s force out grounder.
A dropped third strike by A.J. Pierzynski with Magglio Ordonez leading off the fourth produced a gift run when Miguel Cabrera followed with a home run to cut the Sox lead in half. Floyd’s strikeout pitch was over the plate and not in the dirt.
And Alexei Ramirez got doubled off second on a liner by Dunn. It was the kind of stuff Guillen said has brought well-deserved heat from a fan base that expected so much more.
“A lot of criticism out in the street,’’ he said. “I don’t blame them one bit. A lot of people disappointed about this ballclub. So are we — the coaches and the players. Everybody should be. We have a better ballclub than we’ve shown. We got to play better and take it from there.’’
A question about his own job security sent Guillen on a familiar rant.
“Pressure about what, getting fired?’’ he said. “I don’t give a s--- I get fired. I’m the only manager in baseball don’t care about getting fired. I don’t at all. If I get fired, it’s because I not do the job.
“I should get fired. Look at the team they give me, and we’re not playing well . . . [but] every time I go home, I feel satisfied with what I’m supposed to do. I think I have energy, passion, love for this ballclub. Hopefully this ballclub gets better to make me look better.
“I’m not afraid to get fired — that’s part of my job. Greater managers than me have been fired. I only want my players to make a good run, make it fun so when we play in September, we play for something. That’s all I care about.’’
A win against Verlander was a small but good step toward that end. Guillen said the Sox were fortunate to catch him on a night when not all of his pitches were working, but there was no feeling sorry for him. It was the Sox’ second win in seven meetings with Detroit and hiked their record to 9-16 against AL ­Central teams.

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