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
”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
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
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
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
”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.