White Sox 5, Dodgers 4

The Chicago White Sox just kept pecking away at Chad Billingsley

until they scraped across enough runs to give Philip Humber an

early cushion to work with. He gave it all back before his

teammates pushed across one more run and closed it out with a solid

effort by their bullpen.

Alexei Ramirez opened the scoring with a two-run single and

scored the go-ahead run for the White Sox, who ended a three-game

skid with a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday

night.

”I don’t think any of us have seen him throw a pitch all year

since spring training, so I don’t think we went into the game

knowing anything in particular,” Paul Konerko said of Billingsley.

”He throws a lot of strikes, and he’s got a sinker that cuts. But

we just put a couple of good swings on some balls early, and a

couple more just fell in that weren’t hit hard. So that always

helps. But it’s not like we killed him. We were just

nickle-and-diming him.”

Humber (3-4) threw 99 pitches over five laborious innings, but

got the victory after allowing four runs and nine hits. The

right-hander, one of 22 pitchers to throw a perfect game in the

majors and the only one to do it after undergoing Tommy John

surgery, is 2-4 with a 7.47 ERA in 10 starts since his gem on April

21 at Seattle.

”To throw a perfect game, the stars have to align,” White Sox

reliever Will Ohman said. ”He’ll never make an excuse, but he did

have some pretty incredible things occur at the same time – a

perfect game, having a baby boy, things like that. And all the

media attention that comes with it, it’s not a normal routine.

”I think he’s struggling mainly with his command, but it’s not

something to be worried about,” Ohman added. ”The stuff is there.

I mean, he’s got one of the best curve balls in major league

baseball. Go ask any hitter. He’s not easy to hit. But he’s the

same as any one of us. You get into a rut. You throw the ball where

you want it to go, and it finds holes.”

Addison Reed, the sixth Chicago pitcher, posted his eighth save

in as many chances with a perfect ninth to help end a three-game

skid by the AL Central leaders.

Billingsley (4-5) was charged with five runs and eight hits in

six innings before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter. The

right-hander was coming off consecutive road victories against

Philadelphia and Seattle in which he allowed a run over seven

innings each time. Before that, he went a career-worst nine

straight starts without a win, including five no-decisions.

”The biggest thing that we’ve talked about with Chad is just

consistency,” manager Don Mattingly said. ”I think the

inconsistency is what’s keeping him from going forward. But that’s

a pretty good ballclub over there, too. I mean, we’re not talking

about a team that can’t hit.”

After blowing a four-run lead, the White Sox went back in front

in the fourth with an unearned run. Ramirez was plunked on the left

elbow after he squared around to bunt, then stole second and

advanced when second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. misplayed Orlando

Hudson’s grounder for an error. Ramirez scored on a fielder’s

choice grounder by Alejandro De Aza.

The Dodgers, whose 41-25 record is still the best in baseball,

threatened in the bottom of the fourth after Billingsley led off

with his second single of the game – and Los Angeles’ final

hit.

Humber walked NL RBI leader Andre Ethier with two outs, and both

runners advanced on a wild pitch that sailed over Hairston’s head

as catcher A.J. Pierzynski set up his target on the outside corner.

But shortstop Ramirez came to Humber’s rescue with a diving catch

in front of second base on a popup that Hairston hit off the

fists.

The White Sox made the most of their opportunity in the second,

taking a 3-0 lead on a two-run single by Ramirez and a run-scoring

single down the right field line by Humber – his first major league

hit.

”Overall I felt pretty good, but my fastball command was off

and on tonight,” Billingsley said. ”I just tried to keep

pitching, keep my focus and try to get our of some difficult jams.

The pitch to Ramirez was a two-seam fastball that was in off the

plate and in on his hands, but he fought it off and got it over the

infield. You can’t do anything about that.”

Alex Rios made it 4-0 in the third with a two-out RBI triple

that was misjudged at the warning track by Elian Herrera, who was

starting in center field for only the fifth time since making his

major league debut on May 15.

But the Dodgers tied it with four runs in the bottom half,

getting a bases-loaded sacrifice fly from Hairston and two-out RBI

singles by Bobby Abreu, A.J. Ellis and James Loney. In Friday

night’s series-opening 7-6 victory, the Dodgers overcame a 5-1

deficit with a five-run sixth.

”Even though we lost three in a row, we felt like we were all

right,” Konerko said. ”Last night’s game obviously was more of a

giveaway than us getting beat. In St. Louis, we just got beat by

some good pitching. We don’t think about the games we’d just lost.

We’ve got pretty short memories, and we show up the same way every

day, ready to play – whether we won big yesterday or whether we

lost a real rough one. So that’s a good sigh with this club.”

Notes: Tommy Lasorda returned to Dodger Stadium for the first

time since his mild heart attack on June 4 in New York, where he

was representing the club at the free agent draft. It was the

second such episode for the 84-year-old Lasorda, whose first one in

1996 forced him to give up managing the Dodgers in his 20th season

at the helm. Lasorda went on to pilot Team USA to an Olympic Gold

Medal at Sydney, Australia in 2000, and was back in a Dodger

uniform on Sept. 22 when Mattingly invited him to spend the game in

the dugout as one of his coaches.