Floyd's gem helps ChiSox wallop Rays

BY foxsports • April 20, 2009

Gavin Floyd could be developing into a top-notch starter.

Floyd took a shutout into the seventh inning, and Carlos Quentin and Jim Thome hit back-to-back homers as the Chicago White Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 12-2 on Sunday.

"He's one of the top pitchers right now in the big leagues, and he continues to throw the ball well," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Floyd (2-1) allowed two runs, coming on Ben Zobrist's homer in the seventh, and six hits in seven innings. Quentin hit his seventh homer of the season - a two-run shot - and Thome followed with his 544th career home run in the eighth inning off Dan Wheeler.

"I just wanted to attack the hitters with whatever I was throwing out there and try to execute pitches," said Floyd, who struck out seven. "I found a rhythm and went after it."

A.J. Pierzynski hit his 99th career homer, helping Chicago take three of four from Tampa Bay. The White Sox also won consecutive games on artificial turf for the first time since Sept. 21-22, 2007 at Minnesota.

"To beat these guys, you've got to be on the top of your game," Guillen said.

Matt Garza (1-1) gave up seven runs and six hits over 5 2-3 innings for the Rays, who went 2-5 in their first homestand of the season. The defending AL champions had a major league-best 57-24 home record last season.

"I didn't make my pitches when I needed to make them," Garza said. "

Tampa Bay now goes on a nine-game, three-city road trip after a week filled with daily promotions celebrating its 2008 playoff run.

"It was a great week but it was also difficult," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That's been part of my concern is the consistant reminder of last year. I wanted to move this beyond last year. It was beautiful. It's wonderful. Now it's time to a create an even better 2009."

Pierzynski put the White Sox up 2-0 with a two-run homer in the second. Thome made it 3-0 one inning later on an RBI grounder.

"It's good to come in here and win because this is a tough place to play," Pierzynski said. "To be honest with you, we felt like we should have won all four games. It was a great series to come in here and win three out of four."

Paul Konerko hit a sacrifice fly and Chris Getz drove in two with a single during a four-run sixth that extended the White Sox lead to 7-0.

Konerko and Wilson Betemit had seventh-inning RBI singles. Konerko has nine RBIs over this last six games, including five in the past two games.

Quentin has homered in three straight games for the first time in his career. Thome, with his solo shot, is now four homers away from tying Mike Schmidt (548) for 13th place all-time.

Tampa Bay center fielder B.J. Upton left after the second due to right quadriceps tightness. Upton, who had a team-best seven homers and 16 RBIs during the 2008 postseason, missed the first six games of the season while recovering from offseason left shoulder surgery.

"I don't anticipate it to be bad," said Maddon, who thinks Upton could return in the next few days.


Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria went 0-for-4 as the DH. Rays manager Joe Maddon said the 2008 AL rookie of the year "tweaked his foot" fielding a slow roller in Saturday's game. Longoria took grounders before the game. ... White Sox SS Alexei Ramirez, mired in an 1-for-18 slid, was out of the starting lineup. ... Garza struck out four and walked five. ... Thome walked twice, moving him within four of tying Harmon Killebrew for 14th place all-time. ... Maddon tied Larry Rothschild for the most games as Tampa Bay manager with 499. ... Tampa Bay 1B Carlos Pena singled in the seventh and has a 12-game hitting streak.

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