ARLINGTON, Texas – The Chicago White Sox used two home runs in two scoring innings to beat the Texas Rangers, 5-2, in a mostly defensive second game of this three-game road series. Philip Humber pitched a great game, as did the White Sox bullpen, who halted a ninth inning Rangers rally and secured a victory in front of another sellout crowd in Arlington of 47,580. Some thoughts on the win:
What it means: With the win and a Detroit Tigers loss, the White Sox now hold a 2.5-game lead over the division rivals in the AL Central. Chicago takes a win in this three-game series against Texas and improves their record to 55-45 on the season.
Offensive struggles: After winning an offensive shootout against the Rangers on Friday, the White Sox found themselves in the thick of a defensive battle for much of Saturday’s game. Both teams were hitless through the first three innings and the Rangers were scoreless through four. The Sox got on the board in the fourth thanks to a Paul Konerko two-run homer and were able to keep the offense going for the fourth and fifth innings. The bats mostly struggled for the rest of the game. Outside of the fourth and fifth innings, the Sox had two hits and had all three batters strikeout in the ninth inning.
Humber humbles Rangers: Philip Humber pitched one of his best games since his perfect game against the Seattle Mariners in April. He pitched six innings and allowed four hits (one home run), one run, two walks and four strikeouts. His hits and runs allowed were his lowest totals since May 13 against the Kansas City Royals. He was hitless through three innings, scoreless through four and had 1-2-3 innings in the second and sixth. He ran into some trouble in the seventh, allowing a leadoff triple and a walk before he was pulled. But Jesse Crain relieved him and closed out the inning with consecutive strikeouts and a flyout to preserve Humber’s fifth win of the season.
Subs deliver: Backups Jordan Danks and Eduardo Escobar filled in nicely for the injured Alejandro De Aza and Alexei Ramirez. The two combined for a run in the fifth when Danks singled and was driven home by a double from Escobar. Escobar almost stretched his double into a triple, but was putout by a fantastic tag from Adrian Beltre at third. Danks also had a great catch against the center field wall in the sixth. Danks finished 1-for-4 with a strikeout and Escobar finished 2-for-5 with a strikeout and back-to-back doubles. Tyler Flowers was less than stellar, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Fab fifth: Although Konerko’s 416-foot two-run blast first put the White Sox on the board in the fourth inning, it was a three-run fifth that ultimately put the game out of reach. After Danks was driven in by Escobar, Kevin Youkilis worked a walk and was immediately driven home by a 407-foot home run to center field from Adam Dunn. The Sox only managed two hits and a hit batter after their offensive outburst in the fifth.
Keep walking: Youkilis continued to see the ball well, working two walks in back-to-back games against the Rangers. He failed to get a hit finishing 0-for-2, but he did score a run in the fifth inning on Adam Dunn’s home run.
Look what I found: Mike Napoli scored the Rangers’ first run of the game on a solo-home run in the fifth inning. White Sox reliever Hector Santiago nonchalantly reached out his arm and caught the ball bare-handed as he sat in the bullpen. He proceeded to relax in his chair like it was no big deal.