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updated: 9/10/2012 11:22 PM

White Sox turn on the power to take series opener

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  • Alex Rios is greeted at home by A.J. Pierzynski after Rios hit a 3-run home run off Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello on Monday night. Dewayne Wise and Paul Konerko scored on the sixth-inning homer. Pierzynski followed with a solo shot.

      Alex Rios is greeted at home by A.J. Pierzynski after Rios hit a 3-run home run off Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello on Monday night. Dewayne Wise and Paul Konerko scored on the sixth-inning homer. Pierzynski followed with a solo shot.
    Associated Press

 
 

The White Sox have some warts, sure.

Hitting with runners in scoring position has been a losing battle the past few weeks, when it often has looked like the Sox would have trouble driving a nail into a snowdrift.

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They are too reliant on home runs, which just might ultimately come back and bite them.

The starting rotation has been sputtering, and the White Sox' pitching staff as a whole has been having some location issues.

And there's that nagging attendance issue: The Sox can't draw! The Sox can't draw!

Throw in the 9 losses in 13 games heading into Monday night's big matchup against the Tigers and, well, the White Sox weren't looking too good.

Getting hot and winning games over the final three-plus weeks of the regular season would cure any and all ailments, and the Sox showed there might be one more big run left as they beat Detroit 6-1 in the first of four before an amped-up "Value Monday" crowd of 30,287.

Not only did the White Sox snap a seven-game losing streak against the Tigers, they lead them by 3 games in the AL Central.

Call the Tigers classic underachievers if you will, but they won the Central by 15 games last season and were the unanimous pick to repeat.

The Sox were not in good shape early in the series opener, trailing 1-0 while going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position before Alex Rios came to the plate with two on and one out in the sixth inning.

Rios connected on an 0-1 inside fastball from Detroit starter Rick Porcello, and all of the pressure seemed to evaporate.

"I think everybody was frustrated with the way the last few days have gone," manager Robin Ventura said. "But I think when Rio hits that ball, it just kind of pops the cork on all the angst of not getting guys in."

A.J. Pierzynski followed Rios with, you guessed it, a solo homer, and Gordon Beckham hit a 2-run shot in the eighth inning.

In major-league baseball, only the Yankees and the Orioles rely more on home runs to generate offense, so the White Sox are what they are.

While they know they'll have to start manufacturing some runs, the Sox are just happy to beat the Tigers.

"We've struggled the last games against them," Rios said. "And this win being the first one of the series is pretty big. We got the first one and hopefully we get the momentum going toward the rest of the season."

After going 0-2 with an 8.66 ERA in his last 4 starts, Joe Quintana labored early against Detroit and was nearly pulled in the third inning when he walked leadoff hitter Austin Jackson and allowed a single to Ryan Raburn.

But the rookie left-hander got Miguel Cabrera to ground into a double play and struck out Prince Fielder.

Quintana wound up pitching 7 innings, allowing 1 run on 7 hits.

"(Cabrera's) probably the best hitter in baseball right now, and to get him to hit a ball on the ground in that situation was huge," Pierzynski said of the big double play.

"You could see Q's confidence grow and you could kind of see the team's confidence grow because usually against us all year that ball has been hit somewhere where it's been just out of our reach, and it was at somebody."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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