Frankly, it came out of nowhere. With James "Big Game" Shields on the mound for the Rays last night with a 2-1 lead entering the top of the sixth, it looked like a nail-biter with the Sox's six-game winning streak in jeopardy. But the White Sox hitters had another idea and when it was all said and done, the South Siders were 7-2 winners and now find themselves on top of the A.L. Central--a half game in front fo the Indians.
Here's how things transpired in that magical five-run sixth inning.
Adam Dunn walked. Paul Konerko struck out. Alex Rios singled, Dunn moved to second. A.J. Pierzynski singled to right, Dunn scored, Rios to third. Pierzynski moved to second on a wild pitch. Dayan Viciedo singled to left, Rios scored and Pierzynski to third. Alexei Ramirez doubled on a line drive to center, Pierzynski scored and Viciedo to third. Orlando Hudson singled on a line drive to right, Viciedo scored and Ramirez to third. Alejandro De Aza hit into a force play that scored Ramirez and Gordon Beckham grounded into a force play with De Aza called out at second.
When the inning ended, the Sox held a 6-2 lead. They added another run in the eighth on Viciedo's 11th homer and their seventh consecutive victory was in the books.
The sixth inning lightning provided by the offense wasn't the only element of the Sox's repetoire that excelled. Philip Humber looked better than at any time since the Perfect Game, giving up only a two-run homer to the Rays' Hideki Matsui (who was making his Tampa Bay debut) and a total of five hits in seven innings of work. Matt Thornton and Hector Santiago each pitched a scoreless inning to secure the triumph.
The Sox go for the sweep in St. Pete tomorrow afternoon, then head home for a nine-game homestand against the Mariners. Blue Jays and Astros.