White Sox escape deep hole only to lose
This season's trade acquisitions have not only made general manager Kenny Williams look good, they've helped keep the White Sox on top of the AL Central heading into the stretch run.
Saturday night's 9-7 loss to Oakland at U.S. Cellular Field is a game Francisco Liriano, Brett Myers and Kevin Youkilis would rather soon forget.
Let's start with Liriano, who came over in a July 28 deal from the rival Twins.
The left-handed starter is as good as anyone when he's on top of his game, and it looked like Liriano was going to have a big night when he struck out five of the first six Athletics who came to the plate.
But after that Liriano performed like a pitcher who is 3-10 with a 5.35 ERA.
He was torched for 5 runs on 4 hits, 2 walks and a hit batter in the third inning and was yanked with one out in the fourth after allowing another run on 2 hits.
"I was trying to do too much in the third inning and missing my spot almost every pitch," Liriano said. "I was getting behind in the count. It's tough pitching when you get behind in the count most of the time. I was missing my spot. That was my problem tonight."
Liriano deserved his 11th loss, but the resilient White Sox overcame a 6-2 deficit and took a 7-6 lead in the seventh inning on A.J. Pierzynski's run-scoring single.
Pierzynski filled in at designated hitter Saturday, and Tyler Flowers got a rare start at catcher.
Flowers made the most of it with the bat, helping rally the Sox by going 3-for-3 with a solo home run and 3 RBI. Flowers came into the game with 3 RBI on the season.
"It's nice, I guess," Flowers said his best career offensive game. "I'd rather win the game. Like I said, defense and my pitchers are the priority. So it's not as good as if we would have won the game."
Flowers tried to get Liriano straightened out, to no avail.
"He just made some mistakes," Flowers said. "He just kind of got up in the zone a little bit, a couple mistakes and Oakland was swinging the bats well. They strung some hits together and put that 5-spot on us before we even knew it.
"It happens that quick, especially when they're hot. I tried to settle him down and get him back, but we just couldn't get it done today."
Along with Matt Thornton, Myers didn't get it done out of the bullpen, either.
The right-hander had a string of 8 scoreless innings since coming over in a July 21 trade from the Houston Astros, but he allowed 1 run on 3 hits in 1 innings.
Thornton (4-8) took the loss after coming on in the eighth and allowing 2 runs on 3 hits.
Finally, Kevin Youkilis hit a big 2-run homer in the fifth inning to cut Oakland's lead to 6-5.
But in the ninth, Youkilis, acquired in a June 24 trade from the Boston Red Sox, was hit on the left forearm by a Grant Balfour pitch. He stayed in the game but was in obvious pain.
"He's got a nice welt on there, but it's not fractured or anything," manager Robin Ventura said. "We'll see how he is in the morning, but he has a pretty good sized welt on there."
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