White Sox get back on track behind Floyd

White Sox get back on track behind Floyd

White Sox get back on track behind Floyd
CHICAGO -- Something out of the ordinary or at least something very memorable always seems to happen whenever the Cubs and White Sox get together for their six-game Interleague competition.

Wednesday's 7-0 shutout for the White Sox before 32,311 at U.S. Cellular Field added another small chapter to that entertaining book.

Sure, the White Sox (36-33) will remember Gavin Floyd's stellar work over 6 1/3 innings, after posting a 1-4 mark with a 10.38 ERA over his last six starts. And the White Sox finished 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position after going 2-for-12 and stranding 17 during their three-game losing streak leading into this series finale.

All of these positives took a temporary backseat to one moment in the eighth inning, when reliever Manny Corpas hit Alejandro De Aza in the back side with a first-pitch 90-mph sinker. The pitch looked intentional and felt the same way to the White Sox center fielder.

"Yes, I do think I got hit on purpose. The way they throw that ball, I think it was on purpose," De Aza said. "I think they just told him to hit the first guy."

De Aza finished 1-for-4 in the victory and was 1-for-8 over the first two games, so it clearly was nothing he did, with De Aza adding that he has known Corpas for a long time and the two are friends. Alex Rios was running in the seventh after reaching base via a leadoff single against Casey Coleman with the White Sox up six runs, but that move simply avoided a double play on A.J. Pierzynski's grounder to second.

Nothing really stood out that would draw the Cubs' ire. When asked about the minor incident postgame, Cubs manager Dale Sveum didn't talk about any sort of intent.

"He hit him," Sveum said. "It happens sometimes."

As for the actual game action, Floyd (5-7) had much better overall location against the Cubs (24-45) and had full usage of his curve to finish off hitters. Floyd walked Bryan LaHair and allowed Alfonso Soriano's infield single with two outs in the first, but struck out Steve Clevenger looking with that curve to end the threat.

David DeJesus opened the third with a double but never moved, courtesy of three ground-ball outs to follow. And even in the sixth, when Starlin Castro led off with a triple, Floyd pitched around the extra-base hit by striking out LaHair and Soriano and retiring Clevenger on a ground ball to second baseman Gordon Beckham.

Floyd finished with four strikeouts and one walk, while allowing four hits, in a victory that was as important for the team as it was for the right-hander.

"That's one thing I think he hasn't been able to do is get his offspeed stuff over when he's in trouble and he gets behind, and even if he throws a cutter, it has to be in the middle of the plate," said Cubs right fielder Reed Johnson of Floyd. "He was pretty good at getting ahead tonight."

"I just want to go out there and keep us in the ballgame and play well," said Floyd, who threw 108 pitches before giving way to Matt Thornton. "I know what God has given me with talent. I just want to try and go out there and get the job done."

Beckham tied a career-high with four RBIs, including a three-run homer to right in the sixth off of reliever Scott Maine to put the game out of reach. He has reached base safely in all 22 career games against the Cubs, hitting safely in 20 of those contests.

Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn delivered run-scoring singles off of Randy Wells (1-2) in the third. Alexei Ramirez brought home Rios with a two-out single in the seventh.

"Yeah, they fell," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of his team's greater success with runners in scoring position. "I wouldn't say they were hit really hard but they fell in and Gordon gets the big hit."

This White Sox effort claimed the season series with four victories overall against the Cubs, and gave them a 49-41 all-time edge with eight wins in their last 11 against the North Siders. The Cubs also failed to finish off their first sweep in the Crosstown Showdown since 2008 at Wrigley Field.

No team has executed a 2012 sweep against the White Sox, who stayed a half-game behind the Indians in the American League Central but added a game to their lead on the third-place Tigers. After Pierzynski joked about jinxing the team, he explained how the sweep-less scenario helps define Ventura's crew.

"It's a sign of a team that's gritty and a team that won't back down, a team that keeps fighting," Pierzynski said. "After the way the first two games went in this series, it was definitely a possibility but we found a way to come out and win and have a good pitching performance. It's just a matter of going out and playing well and playing hard and good things will happen."

"Today was good. We needed that," Beckham said. "We've been doing a good job of not getting swept. But we're playing hard, we're doing the right thing. It's just coming a little harder the last week and a half. We just have to keep working hard and hope that it's enough."

With the two teams not playing again until March, '13 in Arizona, De Aza basically has to "wear it" as he said with a smile about Corpas' pitch, pointing out that he was "surprised, but at the same time, mad." It's now an official part of the intra-city rivalry.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.