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Did not see that one coming: White Sox victory fueled by legs of Jim Thome, A.J. Pierzynski

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aj-pierzynski-white-sox.jpgNo one is going to accuse A.J. Pierzynski and Jim Thome of being too fleet of foot. Read: these dudes are slow.

But the catcher and designated hitter used their brains and what speed they have to scratch out a crucial run for the White Sox in the seventh inning of their dramatic 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees.

Thome led off the inning with a dribbler up the first-base line that Yankees starting pitcher Andy Petitte was unable to corral, and raced up the line to get on base -- like any good leadoff hitter would do. Pierzynski followed with a sharp liner to that glanced off Alex Rodriguez's glove and into left field for a single. The duo was still on first and second respectively when Carlos Quentin hit what looked to be an inning-ending double play ball to Rodriguez.

But, if there's one thing we know about Pierzynski, it's that he loves making his presence known.
The platnium-blond signal caller slid hard into Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano as he tried to make the turn, causing the relay throw to sail wide of first base. Thome, hustiling all the way, was able to scamper home before New York's Mark Teixiera was able to run down the errant throw.

Aestetically, it was ugly. On the scoreboard, it was beautiful -- a go-ahead run for the Sox in a crucial game against the AL East leaders.

"I wasn't trying to go in there to hurt anyone," Pierzynsk said.  "I was trying to put pressure on Cano."

Mission accomplished.

'That's the reason we won the game, besides Floyd's tremendous job,'' White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said after the game. ''We need more of that. We need more plays like A.J. sliding hard into second base without hurting anyone. That's the kind of team we need, to attack people the way A.J. did.''

It was a good, clean baseball play. Cano acknowledged as much. But, it was a little more.

It's exactly the type of play the Sox will need if they're going to scrape and claw their way to a division title. It's not going to be pretty, but all that matters in the bottom line. Gavin Floyd's masterful performance and Dewayne Wise's walk-off single are much easier to identify than these hustle plays like these, but not neccesarily more important.

Pierzynski took extra pride in his gritty play.

''It's always satisfying,'' hei said. ''Little things add up in games, and we kind of got away from that on this road trip and didn't execute as well as we could have.''

Relying on the legs of Thome and Pierzynski isn't something the Sox want to do on a regular basis, but for one cool July night, it certainly worked out.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on July 31, 2009 1:04 AM.

Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin uses homophobic slur about Notre Dame was the previous entry in this blog.

Ozzie Guillen really wants the 2003 steroid list made public is the next entry in this blog.

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