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Jackson has impressive White Sox debut

DETROIT -- The White Sox aren’t trying to collect masterpieces.

So even if Edwin Jackson’s White Sox debut was far from a thing of beauty, seven strong innings are seven strong innings.

In a trade-deadline deal that seemed to bring a collective yawn from a fan base looking for Adam Dunn or Prince Fielder, and not the National League-leader in earned runs and wild pitches, the early reviews on Jackson are positive.

“I never remember him throwing that hard,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “[Bench coach] Joey [Cora] told me he’s got a pretty good arm, and I don’t remember that. That’s how much attention I pay to the games. I think the command was outstanding.”

Jackson’s one run allowed scored only after he was removed from the game, and even though he gave up nine hits, he allowed just one walk with six strikeouts. The White Sox won 4-1 and victories, no matter how they get them, are what the White Sox are really collecting.

"It feels good to go out and attack the strike zone and make hitters put the ball in play,” Jackson said. “It’s a great defensive team here. Let them work and let them make plays they make on a normal basis.”

The defense wasn’t the greatest early, but Jackson managed to strand two runners in each of the first three innings.

Jackson’s 60 walks with the Diamondbacks were still fifth most in the National League on Wednesday, five days after he moved to the American League. It was one of the reasons his addition to the White Sox hardly made anybody stand up and take notice.

The only walk he allowed to the Tigers came in the eighth inning to the last batter he faced, the always-dangerous Miguel Cabrera. And the manager blamed himself for that one.

“It was my mistake to let him go out there for that last inning,” Guillen said. “He was sitting down there for too long [in the top of the inning]. We had a plan and I came out of that plan for no reason. I don’t think that was a good move on my part to have him sit there for 20 minutes and all of a sudden come out. He couldn’t find the plate and I take the blame for that one.”

It ended up being the perfect storm really, with Jackson moving to a first-place team and pitching against his club from last year. With a wide grin before the game, he told a Tigers representative to tell his former teammates that he was going to bring it.

Pitching against another former team this year, Jackson fired a no-hitter at the Tampa Bay Rays that was somewhat similar to what he put together Wednesday. The no-hitter also included eight walks and 149 pitches.

The White Sox are delighted with Wednesday’s turn of events. They never claimed to be acquiring an ace, just a guy who can deliver solid starts no matter what they might look like. And if this is what a fifth starter looks like, the White Sox might be able to do some damage down the stretch.

“We don’t put numbers on our guys,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “Coming into the year Freddy [Garcia] was our fifth starter and look what he’s doing. He’s gone out and won a bunch of games and pitched great for us. We try not to put a number on it, it’s just a day. If Edwin can pitch the way he did tonight, he’s going to be just fine for a long time.”

His next chance to impress will come Monday at Baltimore and even though his run total was low against the Tigers, there is room for improvement on the hit total.

“My job isn’t to impress anybody,” Jackson said. “Obviously the guys here, the coaching staff, they know what I’m capable of. They wouldn’t trade for you. It’s just a matter of going out and executing.”

By the numbers

5: Starts for Edwin Jackson this season when he has allowed one walk or less, including Wednesday in his White Sox debut. The last one came May 22 for the Diamondbacks against the Blue Jays, 12 starts ago. The last time Jackson gave up less than four runs in a game, before Wednesday, was June 25 when he pitched his no-hitter against the Rays.

Quote

“It was a great outing. There wasn’t a whole bunch of balls hit hard. There were some quirky plays early on that caused some rallies. He has a great arm. I knew that before. He was sitting at 96, 97, 95 (mph) the whole game, for seven innings. That’s pretty impressive.” -- Paul Konerko, on his view of Jackson’s first White Sox start from first base.

Look ahead

Freddy Garcia (10-4, 4.73) will be operating on a full week of rest when he faces the Tigers on Thursday in the finale of a four-game series. The right-hander is 7-1 over his last 11 starts with a 4.09 ERA. After pitching a career-low 1 1/3 innings on July 24, Garcia rebounded to beat the Mariners on July 27 by giving up three earned runs over six innings.

Garcia will be opposed by the Tigers’ Max Scherzer (7-8, 4.28) in the afternoon contest. The right-hander has given up more than one run just twice over his last eight outings.