Alexei's late homer finishes pesky Yankees

Alexei's late homer finishes pesky Yankees

Alexei's late homer finishes pesky Yankees
CHICAGO -- For those who missed the White Sox 9-6 victory over the Yankees on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field, played before 27,561 in a crisp three hours and 44 minutes, allow A.J. Pierzynski to fill in some of the gaps.

"Fall behind early like we did, come back and take the lead. Fall right back behind, come back and get the lead again," said Pierzynski after handling 191 pitches thrown by six White Sox hurlers. "It was a good team win. Everyone contributed."

Pierzynski left out more than a few entertaining moments in this general synopsis.

There was Alexi Ramirez's leadoff drive in the fifth, originally ruled fair by third-base umpire Bill Welke but then changed from a double to a foul ball by home-plate umpire Tim Tschida. Ramirez went on to strike out against Freddy Garcia, but Gordon Beckham's single and Dewayne Wise's two-run homer began a five-run rally to erase a 3-0 deficit.

Then there was Garcia, the big-game starter who earned the win during the White Sox decisive Game 4 victory over the Astros in the 2005 World Series, and he had seven strikeouts through four scoreless innings for the Yankees on Monday. But the veteran lost it in a hurry after Wise's long ball and didn't survive the fifth.

Or how about Yankees manager Joe Girardi choosing to use four pitchers for four straight White Sox hitters in the fifth? Garcia walked Paul Konerko, Cody Eppley induced a run-scoring fielder's-choice grounder form Alex Rios, left-handed specialist Clay Rapada gave up an RBI single to the left-handed-hitting Pierzynski and Joba Chamberlain allowed Dayan Viciedo's single to bring home Rios.

Monday's marathon even featured a show of emotion from White Sox starter Gavin Floyd, after manager Robin Ventura removed him with one on and one out in the third. The usually calm hurler threw something and kicked at something in the dugout, before disappearing down the tunnel to the clubhouse.

"You want to go out there and give your team your best effort, and I felt like I was below where I wanted to be," said Floyd, who finished with three runs allowed on five hits, while walking four, hitting one and striking out one over just 58 pitches. "It's frustrating, but our team battled their butt off today and ended up winning today, so that was a good part."

"Gav didn't look like he had it," Ventura said. "He was struggling to find location, and this isn't one of those teams where you can just put guys on. They work counts and grind out at-bats. They've got a lot of speed, too."

Brett Myers (2-1) earned the victory, and Addison Reed set a White Sox single-season rookie save record with his 22nd. All of this was made possible by three solid innings of relief from Hector Santiago and Ramirez's connection off one-time White Sox reliever Boone Logan (4-2) in the seventh.

Pierzynski started the rally on a checked-swing infield single that rolled down the third-base line on a pitch from Logan that exploded Pierzynski's bat. One out later, Ramirez worked the count full, then launched his seventh homer of the season deep into the left-field stands for the game-winner.

"I wasn't looking for anything," Ramirez said through translator and White Sox director of public relations Lou Hernandez. "It was 3-2. I swung on what I thought was a strike, and it just happened that way."

"We've been scuffling as a whole down there lately," said Logan of the Yankees' bullpen. "You've got to grind through it and get through it. We all know that and talk about it. We're doing the best we can, it's just nobody's going well."

Adam Dunn's 36th homer completed the White Sox scoring, giving the South Siders four long balls on the night. Fighting their way back from a three-run deficit in the fifth and a 6-5 deficit in the sixth after taking the lead in the fifth, the White Sox (66-55) extended their lead to two games in the American League Central over the idle Tigers.

"This was a big win," Dunn said. "We played so bad in Kansas City. The energy was going down a little bit in Kansas City. We didn't get off to a good start tonight.

"That shows the resiliency of this team. Obviously, tonight wasn't looking good. We had some opportunities early to drive some runs in, and we didn't and fell behind. We just kept battling and battling."

Taking this series opener against the Yankees (72-50), who lead the always-tough AL East and have the AL's best record, helped erase the three-game sweep the White Sox took in Kansas City.

"Coming home is always nice," Pierzynski said. "But that series is over with. This has been a solid team, as far as living for the day and living for the moment and not really getting caught up in what's happening in the past. That's what good teams do. Hopefully, we can continue and stay hot."

"We've been very resilient," Beckham said. "There have been times where we've had some bad stretches, but we just keep coming to the park and we don't give in. We could have rolled over and died tonight. For us to stay in that game and win it was huge."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for 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.