Monday, April 13, 2009

Sox poke holes in Tigers |

Carlos Quentin hit two home runs and Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko each hit their 300th career home runs on back-to-back shots as the White Sox beat the Tigers, 10-6, this afternoon at Comerica Park. Here's Anthony Fenech's account of the game.

Much like the start of my day, both starting pitchers looked rocky early on, but only one was able to right the ship. Gavin Floyd put together a couple of solid innings when the game was still in balance, but the White Sox were more than prepared for Miner today.

In the second, Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko went back-to-back for their 300th wins and in general, drove the meat of the Chicago lineup which included Carlos Quentin smacking two home runs.

Obviously, not a good day for Miner, who looked to continue to establish his rotation candidacy with a strong performance, but the Tigers still hit the ball well and pushed some runs across although there were squandered opportunities.

The series continues tomorrow at 1:05 with the probable starters being John Danks for Chicago and rookie Rick Porcello in his first home start for the Tigers.

Bottom of the ninth inning

4:20: Santiago leads off with a made-for-TV drag bunt that slips under the glove of Linebrink. His speed draws no throw from Lillibridge at second. Just a perfectly executed drag bunt. I like those as much as I like perfectly executed slides.

4:25: Jeff Larish steps up as a pinch-hitter after Inge and Anderson strike out swinging, the Tigers hopes for this game on ice.

4:27: Larish flies out to center and nearly three and a half hours later, the White Sox wrap this Monday matinee up, 10-6.

Top of the ninth inning

4:18: Nothing really notable in the top half of the ninth. Looking at the scoreboard, it seems as if the White Sox have had 16 hits for the past three innings. Last call for the Tigers, Santiago-Inge-Anderson in the bottom of the ninth.

4:19: Chicago brings in reliever Scott Linebrink.

Bottom of the eighth inning

3:59: After a couple hours of merciless typing, I have finally caught up with the game and can refill my water.

4:00: Granderson strikes out swinging on three consecutive 94 m.p.h. fastballs and it is announced in the press box that Wise left the game with a separated shoulder.

4:01: Polanco splits the left-center gap, hustles in with a triple and Ordoñez walks, putting two men on for the almighty bobblehead boy

4:03: Cabrera quickly falls behind in the count, 0-2. I’m guessing slider in the dirt, check-swing strikeout.

4:04: Slider in the dirt but no swing.

4:05: Battling back to even the count at two, Cabrera fouls off a pitch then swings through a high 95 m.p.h. Thornton fastball. Guillen’s up with two outs and possibly the Tigers last chance to claw back into the game.

4:08: Guillen lines a grounder off of the dirt right into the backhand of Fields at third base, who took one step to the left and made a nice outstretched snag. “He plays like Joe Crede there … against the Tigers,” Lowe says and Morosi adds, “That’s what you call a Bobby Jenks exit.” Going to the ninth, it’s 10-6 Chicago.

Top of the eighth inning

3:49: Dye is having a day. Following a Thome single through the shift, Dye delivers his third hit of the game, a line drive up the middle.

3:53: Konerko flies out to right, Pierzynski is caught looking at too many strikes.

3:55: Ramirez grounds out 6-4 and Rincon pitches his second scoreless inning of the game. With two at-bats left, the Tigers are down four and need to get some offense going.

3:57: Chicago is bringing left-handed flame thrower Matt Thornton into the game.

Bottom of the seventh

3:46: The catch doesn’t carry over. Tigers go down in order, just the way I kind of hoped they would because I’m writing a live blogging emergency manual.

Other stuff maybe to put at the beginning, I don't know. I just had to write about it.

For those of you keen blog followers out there, you’ll notice there’s a little something missing on today’s game blog: the first inning.

Well, during that time, both nothing and everything happened. On the field, nothing happened. In the press box, everything happened.

Here is an actual (sort of) live blog of my journalistic crisis:

12:45: I arrive and stare blankly at my brother’s laptop, wondering how to turn it on, much like that scene in "Zoolander," where they’re trying to physically get the files out of the computer.

12:52: After two frantic phone calls, I am informed that the power button is, logically, hidden in the back right.

12:57: I realize I am completely and utterly behind in technology, can’t find the wireless controls, can’t connect to the Internet and nervously feel like I’m living out every live-bloggers nightmare of showing up to the ballpark with an Internet-less computer

1:02: Free Press writer John Lowe attempts to figure out the monster that is Windows Vista. No dice.

1:03: At this point, I’m contemplating life after live-blogging. A Tigers attendant comes around, offering Miguel Cabrera 2008 AL home run champion bobbleheads. I jokingly ask her if she’s got a laptop, too. No dice.

1:05: First pitch. No Internet. My life is officially over. But then I run into WXYT's Jeff Riger, who I used to dub “Brother Riger” back when interning there.

1:07: I convince Riger to let me use his non-Vista Dell. Now that’s a brother.

1:10: Scrambling to put together my thoughts on the first inning, something weird happens. I breathe. Normally. For the first time in about a half an hour.

So if Zach Miner thinks he got off to a bad start today, tell him to look no further than the mop-headed kid in the press box.

Top of seventh inning

3:38: Anderson walks, Lillibridge strikes out and Fields does the same as Anderson swipes second during the at-bat.

3:40: Detroit’s Anderson – Josh – makes a spectacular diving catch on Quentin’s hooking line drive. He laid out in a dead sprint. Maybe his catch can ignite the Tigers offense after the stretch much the way it just did the crowd.

Bottom of the sixth inning

3:21: D.J. Carrasco relieves Gavin Floyd, who yet again appears to have the Tigers number. In his career, he’s 4-0 against the Tigers with a 3.23 ERA and in Detroit, he’s 2-0 and 2.62.

3:22: Granderson is retired and life is injected into the Comerica Park crowd once again, thanks to Polanco's walk and two back-to-back singles from Ordoñez and Cabrera.

3:28: Guillen is mesmerized by a very un-mesmerizing pitch. Trying to gain footing, he stares at a Carrasco fastball right down the heart of the plate for strike three.

3:30: The once-promising rally ends with Santiago grounding out to the pitcher.

Top of the sixth inning

3:06: After a Josh Fields groundout to begin the inning: “Eddie Bonine has done a good job of playing with the cards he’s been dealt and keeping the Tigers in the game.”

Can you say backspace? One full count later, Quentin hits a towering shot that elevates just enough to get over Anderson’s outstretched glove and bounces straight off the bullpen ceiling.

3:09: Thome’s thrown out on a check-swing by third base umpire Tom Hallion. It was a pretty amusing sequence of events, as Thome took off jogging towards first base before Hallion’s call. It was almost as if Hallion threw him out for running before he made the call.

3:12: I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems Jermaine Dye likes the Tigers – a lot. He doubles off the scoreboard in right center.

3:15: Same is true with Konerko. He doubles to the same spot without the roll to the scoreboard. Second inning, back-to-back homers to left. Sixth inning, back-to-back doubles to right. Sticking with the theme, is that considered a milestone?

3:16: After an intentional walk to Pierzynski, Bonine strikes out Ramirez, who is trying to muddle out of an early-season slump.

Bottom of the fifth inning

2:48: Ordoñez walks for the second time today, followed by a very unhappy Miguel Cabrera – on his bobblehead day, nonetheless! – walking back to the dugout after a check-swing strikeout. Afterwards, Cabrera voices his displeasure with home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi.

2:52: Guillen walks and there’s two on and one out for the of the third inning three-run home hitter, Ramon Santiago.

2:55: Santiago laces a 1-1 fastball to the right center gap where Dewayne Wise sprints and sprints and sprints some more before catching up to a ball that appeared to be over his head. It was an absolutely great catch, Wise making the grab in a dead sprint. Both Ordoñez and Guillen have to retreat, while Wise lays on the ground in pain.

2:57: Wise is removed for Brian Anderson.

2:59: Inge walks, loading the bases for Josh Anderson.

3:00: He delivers with a base hit to right center, plating two Tigers and cutting the four-run lead in half.

3:02: Treanor works Floyd but flies out to Dye in right. I think the writers want him to get this hit more than he does, for a perfect handful of milestones. After five, White Sox by two.

Top of the fifth inning

2:38: Chicago has put on their hitting shoes today, moving into the double-digit hit category with a Konerko single to center followed two batters later by Wise’s single to right.

2:43: Lillibridge flails at a Bonine sinker, leaving two on the bases for the White Sox in the fifth.

Bottom of the fourth inning

2:33: Alexei Ramirez makes a very nice snag on a line drive off Treanor’s bat, ending his bid for his first hit in a Tigers uniform.

2:34: Konerko follows with a nice play of his own before Polanco grounds out to end the inning. For the first time today, Floyd doesn’t allow any runs after his offense padded the lead. Going into the fifth, White Sox 8, Tigers 4.

Top of the fourth inning

2:23: Lillibridge leads off the first by grounding into the dime-a-dozen 1-5-3 groundout. The ball came directly for Miner, ricocheted off of his glove right in the direction of Inge, who was hustling in at third to make his dime-a-dozen barehanded, off-balance throw. More impressively, the throw pulled Cabrera off of the base at first, who miraculously kept the big body on the bag long enough for an out.

2:24: Fields walks, and Quentin goes deep. Very deep. Over-the-bullpen-in-left deep. Not surprisingly, boos follow, Leyland emerges from the dugout, cheers follow and just like that, Eddie Bonine is on the mound.

2:27: Miner’s final line looks eerily similar to the last Tigers pitcher that took the mound on a Monday: 3 1/3 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 3 HR.

2:31: Bonine retires his first two batters. Tigers down four but something tells me there will be some more runs scored.

Bottom of the third

2:07: Sad news from up in the press box, Phillies radio voice Harry Kalas has passed away at the age of 73.

2:09: After Polanco flies out to center, Ordoñez walks before Cabrera flies high and deep and way back and into the glove of Wise in left center.

2:12: Floyd issues his second walk of the inning to Guillen on four straight pitches. Two on, two out, Santiago at the plate.

2:14: Count is full and Santiago has fouled two good pitches off as the runners continue to start. He’s just missed solid contact twice.

2:16: Floyd dries sneaking a fastball inside to the lefty and Santiago pulls a line drive into the service cavern in right for a three-run homer. Floyd was working him outside and then went inside and clearly, that was a mistake.

2:19: Inge walks, Anderson grounds out to short to end the inning and as we head to the fourth, it seems as if neither pitcher wants to win the game.

Top of the third inning

1:48: Brent Lillibridge leads off the third with a double that squeezes just inside of the line at third. Lillibridge’s claim to fame could be that he was teammates with Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum at Washington.

1:51: Josh Fields walks one pitch after Miner just misses the outside corner, much to the dismay of the crowd.

1:51: Speaking of the crowd, it looks relatively healthy considering it’s a 37-degree overcast Monday afternoon. For those of you seat-squatters following at the game, there are huge patches of empty seats in both corners.

1:54: Miner is giving Treanor a workout behind home plate and he falls behind Quentin before allowing a single up the middle, scoring another run.

1:56: So that’s why there was so much hoopla over Dye and Konerko’s back-to-back home runs last inning: BOTH Dye and Konerko hit their 300th home runs on those swings, the first time in history that two teammates have hit milestone home runs in the same game.

1:57: As I furiously type to catch up to Miner’s grand idea to load the bases, Lowe turns to me and says “You might want to watch here, Anthony, this could be the ballgame.”

1:58: Miner falls behind 2-1 to Dye with no outs and the bases loaded.

2:00: After hooking one just foul down the left field line, Dye swings through a very nice Miner pitch, a sinking fastball that cut inside on him.

2:01: The momentum stops there, as Konerko hooks one off the chalk in left. Two runs score and Miner’s pitches look to be numbered now. Thome on third, one out.

2:03: Pierzynski grounds to Polanco, playing in, and Thome runs on contact. He’s thrown out by a couple of feet at home.

2:04: Ramirez drops a base hit inside the line in left and Konerko scores despite some hesitant two-out baserunning.

2:05: Miner escapes – OK, maybe not escapes – the inning with a 6-3 putout.

Bottom of the second

1:38: Tigers beat writers John Lowe and Jon Paul Morosi are next to me, giddily talking about the possible milestones in today’s game, noting it’s Brandon Inge’s 1,000th game and both Josh Anderson and Matt Treanor have opportunities to record their first Tigers hits today.

1:38: Miguel Cabrera leads off with a pop-up – yes, he is human – followed by a pair of singles by Carlos Guillen and Ramon Santiago.

1:41: Milestone Man No. 2 – Inge – pops straight up the elevator chute for out No. 2. Two on, two outs, Josh Anderson up.

1:42: “Hey!” Lowe says as Anderson lines a RBI single to right, the first hit of his Tigers career. Carlos Guillen scores and now it’s Matt Treanor’s turn to go for a milestone.

“And in the not-so-obvious department,” he continues. “The game in Pittsburgh has been delayed for weather.” I smile for the first time today.

1:44: Treanor works the count full – a passed ball moving the runners up – and walks, loading the bases for Curtis Granderson. Both starting pitchers have labored through their second innings after relatively breezing through the first.

1:45: Gavin Floyd induces a weak groundout from Granderson to end the inning. After two, White Sox 2, Tigers 1.

Top of second inning

1:30: Zach Miner, oh how I can relate to what you’re going through right now.

After an easy first inning of work, Miner starts the second by giving up back-to-back home runs to Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko, both to left field.

Dye’s home run is significant on a couple of fronts. It’s the 300th home run of his career, and his third against Miner, making him the player most likely to awake Miner in the middle of the night.

The 2-1 pitch sent to left-center also puts Dye in a tie with Twins third baseman and noted Tiger killer Joe Crede for the most home runs in Comerica Park history by a visitor with 15.

One full count later, Konerko disposes his second of the year into the Tigers bullpen.

2-0, White Sox. (Blogger’s note: Coming into the game, Dye was hitting .417 off of Miner in his career and Konerko .462)

A.J. Pierzynski singles sharply to center and this half inning quickly looks like it could become one of the ugly variety.

Miner escapes, with Alexei Ramirez grounding into a double play followed by Dewayne Wise flying out to center.

(More on how we relate later.)

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