White Sox darken Rays, keep hope alive in Chicago
Posted: Monday, October 6, 2008 7:33 pm
By: By RICK GANO, AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — In a sea of black shirts and waving white towels, the White Sox kept their season afloat.
The only Chicago team still left in the playoffs, the White Sox got another gritty pitching performance in an elimination game from lefty John Danks and a key hit from well-traveled DeWayne Wise to beat Tampa Bay 5-3 Sunday.
The Rays still lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 tonight at U.S. Cellular Field, where a crowd of 40,142, dressed mostly in black and brandishing contrasting white towels, gave the White Sox a boost.
“I hope tomorrow they come all dressed in black again. I feed off that and a lot of the guys do,” said Wise, who delivered a two-run double in the fourth inning right after some heads-up baserunning by veterans Paul Konerko and Ken Griffey, Jr.
“We’re still alive. We’re still in this thing,” Wise said.
Gavin Floyd will pitch for the White Sox against Andy Sonnanstine of the Rays.
As for that other team in Chicago?
“I’m just trying to win one game and not get swept. I could care less about the Cubs,” Guillen said.
He added that he send a text message to Cubs pitcher and fellow Venezuelan Carlos Zambrano, telling him to keep his head up after the North Siders were swept away by the Dodgers.
Danks, who beat Minnesota 1-0 last Tuesday in the tiebreaker for the AL Central title, kept his poise and shut down the Rays for 62/3 innings.
The 23-year-old lefty gave up five hits and a run before B.J. Upton hit a long, two-run homer with two outs in the seventh that made it 5-3.
After a single by Carlos Pena, Octavio Dotel threw a third strike past Evan Longoria, who said the loss did little to dampen the Rays’ confidence.
Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth, striking out Pena with a nasty curveball with a runner on for his fifth postseason save.
He had four in 2005, including two in the World Series victory over Houston.
The Rays, who went from 96 losses a year ago to 97 victories this season, knew that switching venues would be a challenge.
“To think you are going to waltz through this whole thing is not a good thought. It’s very unreasonable,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “It’s a bad assumption to think you are going to come in and beat up on them.”
Matt Garza, pitching on eight days’ rest, was popping his fastball in the mid-90s (mph) and trying to keep the homer-reliant White Sox off balance by changing speeds.
Chicago caught up with the 24-year-old righty in the fourth.
Jim Thome opened with a double off the center-field fence, Konerko walked and Griffey Jr. hit a sharp single to load the bags.
Alexei Ramirez, who hit a record four grand slams as a rookie this season, hit a sacrifice fly to center for a 2-1 lead, and Konerko and Griffey alertly moved up a base.
Wise followed with a two-run, opposite-field double to left.
The base running from the veterans gave the White Sox a lift.
“To be honest, I thought Griffey cheated. I never thought he went back to the bag,” Guillen said. “That was a big, big play for us in that inning. Huge. It got everybody excited in the dugout, seeing those guys play the game the way it should be played.”
Wise, who hit a three-run homer in the opener at Tropicana Field, was designated for assignment by Chicago on May 31. But the White Sox brought him back from the minors in June and he’s received increased playing time since Carlos Quentin went down with a broken wrist Sept. 1.
Since his career began in 1997, the 31-year-old Wise has played in only 240 regular-season major league games and another 935 in the minors.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Wise said. “I couldn’t find a job, and to be where I am right now.”
Juan Uribe had an RBI single in the sixth that made it 5-1.
Notes: Rain wiped out most of the Rays’ pregame batting practice about 90 minutes before the start. It kept raining and delayed the start of the game by 35 minutes. … Pena, who left Game 1 after two innings and missed Game 2 because of a scratched cornea, returned to the Rays’ lineup and had two hits.