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Monday, September 29, 2008

Cage Match: White Sox 8, Tigers 2

Bottom 1st: Freddie Garcia, starting for the Tigers, walked the first two batters he faced and gave up an RBI single to Jermaine Dye. Neither pitcher has been especially sharp so far, since Chicago's Gavin Floyd hit Gary Sheffield already. White Sox 1, Tigers 0

Top 2nd: Floyd settled down and retired the Tigers' 5-6-7 batters in order, two on strikeouts.

Bottom 2nd: Garcia matches Floyd by retiring the Sox on seven pitches. Still 1-0 Chicago.

Top 5th: Ryan Raburn reaches on a leadoff single, steals second in Brandon Inge's at-bat, and Inge whacked him home with a line-drive double against the wall. One of the Sox' outfielders (DeWayne Wise, I believe) hit the wall hard and was on the ground, unmoving for a bit as Ken Griffey, Jr. returned the ball to the infield.

Dusty Ryan singled to put men on the corners, but Curtis Granderson struck out and Gary Sheffield bounced to third to end the threat. Tied 1-1.

Top 6th: Floyd has thrown a lot of pitches, starting the frame with 93. He started to run out of gas, and gave up a one-out double to Miguel Cabrera and a hard-hit lineout to Marcus Thames. The Tigers finally got to him on a bounceout back to the box that should have been the third out. Instead, Floyd picked up and dropped the ball twice, and finally threw it away up the first base line for a two-base error that allowed Raburn to reach and get to second. 2-1 Tigers.

Floyd struck out Ryan to end the inning, but Floyd has thrown 118 pitches.

Bottom 6th: Garcia walked Wise to start the frame, and Wise stole second. Garcia spun around, and as the ball was thrown into center field, he clutched his shoulder. (Wise didn't see the bad throw, and stayed at second.) Jim Leyland called for Armando Galarraga, and that's it for Garcia.

Galarraga uncorked a pair of wild pitches to drive in the scoring run with Jermaine Dye at the plate, one of them ball four, so not only is the game tied but there's still nobody out. Tied 2-2. That's the end of Galarraga's day, and Leyland calls in Bobby Seay to face left-handed Jim Thome.

Seay uncorks a wild pitch that sends Dye to second, but he manages to strike out Jim Thome. He intentionally walks Paul Konerko and unintentionally walks Junior to set up a bases-loaded, one-out scenario that gets Leyland to apply the hook to Seay. In comes 5.30 ERA Gary Glover with one out ... and Alexei Ramirez goes yard on the first pitch to make it 6-2 Sox. It's a rookie record for grand slams, as Ramirez had hit three previous. It's the first run to score on a hit all inning.

Bottom 8th: After holding the Tigers scoreless for two more frames, the Sox face Aquilino Lopez, who gets two quick outs in Paul Konerko and Brian Anderson. Ramirez, who hit the slam earlier, reached on a single, stole second, and went home easily on a long double by A.J. Pierzynski. 7-2 Sox.

Pierzynski takes third in Juan Uribe's at-bat, on a wild pitch. Uribe's swinging bunt knocks in a run as the same problem that afflicted Detroit in the 2006 postseason, poor pitcher fielding, bites them again, allowing Uribe to reach on what is scored a fielding error against the pitcher. Orlando Cabrera strikes out to end the frame, but it's now 8-2 Sox in a laugher.

Top 9th: D.J. Carrasco easily retires Jeff Larrish, Matt Joyce, and Curtis Granderson (the first two on strikeouts) to seal the game. The White Sox finish the season 88-74, tied with the Twins, and they will play a one-game playoff tomorrow in Chicago.

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