Contreras leads ChiSox over Brewers
Jose Contreras told the White Sox he needed time in the minors to get straightened out, but he'd be back. The Brewers hope Manny Parra will accomplish the same quick rebound.
Contreras allowed two hits over eight scoreless innings and Chicago battered Parra with a six-run outburst to beat Milwaukee 7-1 on Saturday. After the game, the Brewers sent Parra to Triple-A Nashville.
"It feels like the guy we were missing. He makes you forget how bad it was in the beginning," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said of Contreras. "Right now, he's cruising, cruising along. He's stepped it up big time, winning a couple games when we need him the most."
Contreras has put together a pair of promising starts, allowing just three hits in 16 scoreless innings since returning from a monthlong demotion to the minors following an 0-5 start.
"I worked really, really hard," Contreras said through a translator of his time at Triple-A Charlotte. "In the minor leagues, nobody has any idea all the work that I put in. Everybody saw how I departed and how I came back. It's night and day for me."
Contreras (2-5) struck out eight and walked two, using his array of arm angles and breaking pitches to frustrate the free-swinging Brewers. He earned his first road win since May 14, 2008.
"When I went down, I knew I was going to come back up, but I never knew I was going to come back this strong," said Contreras, who won 17 straight games for the White Sox during a yearlong stretch beginning in 2005. "This is as strong as I've felt since 2005-06."
Highly touted prospect Gordon Beckham drove in his first two runs as a major leaguer and Paul Konerko also had two RBIs as the White Sox batted around in the second off Parra.
"Hopefully it's the start of many to come," Beckham said.
Ramon Castro also homered in the fifth.
The 37-year-old Contreras, who had faced one batter over the minimum through seven innings, finally began to tire in the eighth and loaded the bases by walking two around a single by Jason Kendall with two outs.
But to the delight of the large contingent of White Sox fans who made the 90-mile journey north this weekend for the first series between the teams in eight years, Guillen left Contreras in.
Contreras retired Craig Counsell on a popup to end his day.
"He had really good command of three pitches," said Ryan Braun, who went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and was one of the hitters baffled by Contreras' sharp forkball. "You basically never see it, especially the ability to throw it for strikes. You see guys with a splitter, but normally it's a two-strike, kind of a strikeout pitch. He's able to throw it for strikes early in the count."
The White Sox improved to 5-9 in June after hammering Parra (3-8).
Konerko, who'd missed the previous two games with a nagging thumb injury, and Castro singled to start the second inning. Jayson Nix hit a ground-rule double to open scoring and Brian Anderson walked to load the bases.
Beckham, Chicago's first-round pick in the 2008 draft, hit a two-run double after a 2-for-28 start to his career. Parra got Contreras to pop out and Scott Podsednik to hit into a run-scoring groundout.
But the young left-hander walked Alexei Ramirez and Jermaine Dye to load the bases and Konerko singled in two runs in his second at-bat in the inning to make it 6-0, chasing Parra.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin talked to Parra and manager Ken Macha before the game had ended, a situation Macha called unique.
"There's a first time for everything," Macha said. "Doug acted proactive with that thing and that's good. I think he handled it in a good way."
Parra's ERA has ballooned from 4.57 to 7.52 while losing four of his last five starts.
"Numbers don't lie," Parra said. "I haven't pitched the way I'm capable of pitching."
The NL Central leading Brewers have two of the next nine days off and won't need a fifth starter until June 28, leaving a chance Parra could be back soon.
"He's got the stuff. I'm going to say right now his confidence level is low," Macha said. "No matter how hard you throw, if you're throwing in the 90s, 92, 93, and you throw it in the middle of the plate it gets hit, and he understands that."
NOTESPinch-hitter Casey McGehee's two-out single off Scott Linebrink in the ninth gave Milwaukee its lone run. ... LHP Chris Narveson will take Parra's place. To make room for Narveson on the 40-man roster, Milwaukee transferred 2B Rickie Weeks (wrist) to the 60-day disabled list. ... Castro asked to keep the ball after his second-inning single. It was the 11-year veteran catcher's first hit as a member of an AL team. ... Brewers SS J.J. Hardy is hitless in his last 24 at-bats.