Maybe three days back in the Coors Field thin air was the prescription for what perplexes Juan Pierre.
Whatever works, right?
Pierre singled in the go-ahead runs in the 10th inning Thursday, capping a come-from-behind 6-4 White Sox win over the Rockies and a big series for the ex-Rockie and Sox leadoff hitter.
Pierre went 3-for-5 on Thursday with the tying sacrifice fly in the Sox' 2-run eighth, and was 7-for-14 over the three-game series to raise his average to .262. No bigger hit was his bases-loaded single off the right-field fence, which narrowly missed going out for a grand slam.
It must seem like decades ago to the 33-year-old Pierre, and it almost is one, but he hit .308 from 2000-02 with the Rockies.
These days Pierre is a reliable lightning rod for Sox fans fed up with an impotent offense. With good reason.
His .256 average and .317 on-base percentage entering Thursday are both career-lows, and his 10-for-20 stolen base ratio doesn't exactly conjure up images of Rickey Henderson.
"This guy, all the work he's put in over the years, when you work that much and try to get better every day you deserve to be out there. You've earned the spot," ever-loyal Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told reporters after the game. "He's one of the players we need the most. The way I like to manage, I like to have speed at the top."
To much gnashing of teeth, Guillen has stuck with Pierre -- even with Dayan Viciedo carving up Triple-A pitching.
Maybe Thursday bought Pierre time and temporary good will in Sox land.
"If he starts to swing the bat better hopefully people will quit talking about him," Guillen said. "Every day Juan Pierre's name comes up. Like I said, as long as I'm here and as long as he's here we'll continue to play him."
Gordon Beckham, another much-maligned target, reached base five times Thursday. His bases-loaded walk in the second scored the Sox' first run, and his solo homer leading off the seventh pulled the Sox within 4-2. Beckham's sacrifice bunt was mishandled in the 10th, loading the bases and setting the stage for Pierre's one-out single.
"It's all mental. Those guys have a lot of talent," Guillen said. "They need to start believing in themselves, let the talent take over and do the damage."
Adam Dunn did no such damage Thursday. It isn't like the Sox aren't giving their prize free-agent acquisition plenty of rope.
A day after seeing about 80 pitches in a simulated game against two Sox minor-league pitchers, Dunn was in the lineup at first base -- batting third no less -- with Paul Konerko rested in the NL park.
Dunn lined into an inning-ending double play in the first, then popped up in the third. In the fifth the Sox put two runners on base, but Dunn hit into a rally-killing double play -- the third of four the Sox hit into.
Despite just 1 hit in 53 at-bats this season against left-handed pitchers, Guillen let Dunn hit in the seventh off lefty reliever Rex Brothers with Pierre at second and Konerko on the bench, and Dunn walked on a full count.
Alex Rios stalled that rally with a grounder to third, epitomizing a frustrating first seven innings. The Sox to that point went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position with 3 double plays and stranded eight runners.
Expect to see the .171-hitting Dunn in at least one game this weekend against the Cubs.
His 25 homers and 46 RBI at Wrigley Field are his best career numbers in an opposing park.
"Just put him at third (in the lineup) and see what happens," Guillen told reporters before the game. "Hopefully his confidence is back. Our lineup is stronger with Dunn batting third."