The Chicago White Sox have a chance to sweep the Texas Rangers Thursday afternoon. The same Texas Rangers who reached the World Series the last two seasons. The same squad that currently has the best record in the majors and seven All-Star selections.
This week, the White Sox have been the team on top, winning the first two games of the series at U.S. Cellular Field.
After clubbing Texas 19-2 Tuesday while banging out 21 hits, Chicago shook off a three-run Ranger first to prevail 5-4 in 10 innings. Dylan Axelrod kept the White Sox in the game, letting the bullpen and Kevin Youkilis outlast the Rangers.
It took fellow rookies Leyson Septimo, Nate Jones combined with Matt Thornton and rookie closer Addison Reed to blank the powerful Rangers lineup over the last 4.1 innings. Reed picked up the win when the top of Chicago's order came up with a pair of gutsy at-bats.
Alejandro De Aza battled back from an 0-2 count and hitting a foul ball off his knee to draw a walk. Youkilis also went down 0-2 before fouling off several pitches and allowing De Aza to steal second.
Youkilis lined one into left to bring in the game-winning run to maintain Chicago's two-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central standings. It also was the seventh win in the last 10 games for the White Sox.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, left off the AL All-Star roster by Texas manager Ron Washington, wasn't able to drive a homer deep into the stands as he did in Monday night's rout. However, he found another way to make his presence felt.
After being hit by a pitch by Rangers starter Scott Feldman in the bottom of the second, Pierzynski advanced to second on a base hit by Dayan Viciedo. Upon a single to right by Alexei Ramirez (who played in front of his parents after being reunited with them after five years), the snubbed White Sox backstop took on All-Star starter Mike Napoli.
With Napoli gathering in the throw to the plate, Pierzynski collided with his counterpart. It was hard enough to separate Napoli from whatever hold he had on the ball and allow the White Sox to score their second run.
It was a clean baseball play all the way, though, it's hard not to think that Pierzynski didn't mind bowling over Napoli in front of Washington. The White Sox could complete a sweep over Texas and remind Washington that although he has a very talented team, the team in the home dugout is not afraid to compete—South Side-style.