Sox savor a couple wins after stormy stretch
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It's a little premature to deem the White Sox hot, so we'll go with lukewarm.
They are riding a two-game winning streak after dropping Oakland 4-2 Sunday afternoon in front of an appreciative crowd of 31,033 at U.S. Cellular Field.
White Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field
TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus today; Comcast SportsNet Tuesday-Wednesday
Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Pitching matchups: The Sox' Dylan Axelrod (3-4) vs. R.A. Dickey (5-7) today; Jose Quintana (3-2) vs. Chein-Ming Wang (0-0) Tuesday; Chris Sale (5-4) vs. Esmil Rogers (1-2) Wednesday. All games start at 7:10 p.m.
At a glance: The White Sox rallied back to split a four-game home series against Oakland while the host Blue Jays won two of three from Texas over the weekend, including Saturday's 18-inning marathon. The Sox and Jays split a four-game series at Toronto in mid-April. Wang makes his first start of the season. The Yankees released the veteran right-hander from his minor-league contract last week and Wang signed a $500,000 deal with the Blue Jays. He was 4-4 with a 2.33 ERA for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. White Sox reliever Jesse Crain has a streak of 24 scoreless innings. Outfielder Alejandro De Aza is 17-for-44 (.386) over his last 11 games.
Next: Houston Astros, Friday-Monday at Minute Maid Park
— Scot Gregor
Considering they had an eight-game losing streak and lost 10 of 11 before taking two in a row from the A's, the Sox are feeling pretty good about themselves.
"Yeah, anything in a row is good," starter Hector Santiago said. "You get two and then maybe three or four. Who knows what happens from here?"
We'll find out, but it looks like the worst is over for the Sox, at least for now.
In the postgame interview room, Robin Ventura was more excited than he's been at any point of the season. Without any prompting, the White Sox' normally staid manager talked about his players finally turning a difficult corner.
"You go through a tough stretch and it's hard offensively to maybe be up for it," Ventura said. "But these guys are still grinding, they're still getting after it. That's the thing in baseball, you can get just as hot as you can cold. Team's go on winning streaks, too. This one, as cold as you can get, you can get just as hot. So you have to keep your head about you and stay positive and go."
Ventura dropped that positive message after veering off a question pertaining to Santiago coming out of the bullpen to replace injured starter Jake Peavy.
He was later asked about Conor Gillaspie, who made three big defensive plays at third base and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Ventura praised Gillaspie and said he's "continuing to grow." Then, he continued his lecture on changing momentum.
"It doesn't take much to turn the momentum of what has gone bad can go good," Ventura said. "There is some positive stuff going. You get Johnny (Danks) and what he did (Saturday), you get what these guys did today. That stuff turns and you never know what can happen when it does. That's what makes these guys tough, as bad as it's going nobody's pointing fingers. We're just rolling."
In addition to Gillaspie's sac fly Sunday, Tyler Flowers and Alex Rios hit solo home runs and Gordon Beckham added a run-scoring double.
That was plenty of support for Santiago (2-4) and relievers Matt Lindstrom, Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain and Addison Reed (19th save).
Santiago refers to himself as a Swiss Army knife because he's always being used in different roles.
But with Peavy out indefinitely with a fractured rib, Santiago is back doing what he enjoys most — starting.
The 25-year-old lefty got the win after holding Oakland to 2 runs (1 earned) on 4 hits in 61⁄3 innings.
"I'm always ready for the opportunity to do it," Santiago said of starting. "I knew that coming into spring training it was pretty much impossible with all the starters and the guys we have. But when stuff like this happens you take advantage of it and run with it. We're all hoping for Peavy to come back as soon as possible but for now, I enjoy the role."
And the White Sox are enjoying their modest winning streak.
"It's not easy when everything is going bad, but we just hope that at some point it goes as good as it's gone bad," said Paul Konerko, who played in his 2,115th game in a Sox uniform Sunday, tying him with Nellie Fox for second place in franchise history. "That's all you can hope for and keep working for, is that at some point in the season it goes as good as it's gone bad for us. We're starting to do some things out there, but it's two games. We're not out of the woods yet. But it definitely is a step in the right direction."
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