Instant Rationalization - A sufficient amount of bulldogging for a sweep

Instant Rationalization - A sufficient amount of bulldogging for a sweep
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Jake Peavy allowed the first three batters to reach safely...in multiple innings.

Two soft hits and a walk gave Peavy a bases-loaded, no out jam in the 1st, while an error, a walk and an RBI double started his 4th frame of work.  Conceding the run, turning a double play, and excellent glovework  ended the former with only a single tally, while Jake's greatest moment came when he unexpectedly struck out three Twins in a row to end the 4th with no further damage.

But it wasn't a day where he flew through the Twins order with great ease.  He labored under the sweltering sun, and needed 120 pitches just to get through six innings despite only having eight baserunners.  It wasn't pure brilliance, but it was certainly sufficient, since the Sox were working with a very large margin of error.

Recently recalled Twins starter Nick Blackburn made no improvements upon the 7.46 ERA he entered the game with.  A Dayan Viciedo bloop single coupled with shoddy Twins outfield and infield defense plated two runs in the second, and three consecutive singles from Beckham, De Aza, and Youkilis led to two more runs in the 3rd.

Based on the defense--left fielder Ryan Doumit had a remarkable day that included bad routes, throwing to the wrong base, and forgetting the number outs--one could have made the argument that Blackburn was unlucky, but being the ineffective sinkerballer he is, the balls starting leaving the yard and he started earning his fate soon enough.

A bit of a jam shot off the bat of Dayan Viciedo flew out 409 feet to dead center for two runs in the 4th, and Alex Rios ended Blackburn's day with a majestic two-run shot in the 5th.

Save for some control issues for Jesse Crain in the 9th, it was all academic from there.

White Sox 8, Twins 2

Key Performers

Jake Peavy - 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 HR, 120 pitches - Grinding, gristly bulldogging

Dayan Viciedo - 3 for 4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI - It's hard to make up at the plate for a day as hideous as the one Dayan had in the field, but he went and did it.

Alexei Ramirez - 2 for 4, 2B, 2 R - The double he hit more or less through Twins shortstop Brian Dozier kickstarted the 2nd inning rally.

Alex Rios - 1 for 3, HR, BB, 2 RBI, 2 R - Continues to play the second banjo part in the dueling Comeback Player of the Year campaign with Adam Dunn.

Turning Point

The Sox have flipped the script from last week, and are now spotting other teams the lead, and waiting patiently for them to give it back.

After Rios walked, Ramirez lined a hot shot at Brian Dozier that he either misread, or simply chose to completely get out of the way of.  It was easily enough to get Viciedo to 3rd base, but Doumit decided he'd throw to 3rd anyway, and allowed Alexei into scoring position.

That mistake would cost the Twins pretty much immediately.  Viciedo hit a flare into left center that dropped between Denard Span and Doumit, and was further bobbled by Span to allow Ramirez to score and give the Sox a permanent lead.

Things Would Be Different If...

Peavy mostly played the role of perfunctory innings-eater rather than All-Star hurler, but he channeled most of his greatness into one concentrated burst.  With a run already in off of a Justin Morneau double, and runners in scoring position, Peavy trotted out his best slider to reel off three straight swinging strikeouts.

Jake wasn't threatened again.

Takeaway

An absolute world of healing took place over this three-game set--save for a actual healing, since Youkilis left Wednesday with a sprained ankle and Pierzynski sat out the last two days.

The White Sox pounded out 26 runs against the worst pitching staff in baseball to get their bats in a groove, the rookie bullpen has been stabilized, and the fans unexpectedly turned a run-of-the-mill drubbing of a fallen rival into the best-attended series of the season (nearly 100,000 total).  That money

Texas looms over the coming weekend, but the level of play necessary to compete with them has returned.

 

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